Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kiribati raising voice at UN Biodiversity Conference

L - R Nenenteiti Teariki- Ruata Kiribati, Warwick Harris RMI

 17 October, CBD COP 11, Hyderabad India - There is talk that the next Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity could be held in three years time.  The CBD COP meetings are usually held on a biannual basis with the last held in 2010 in Nagoya, Japan.

The next meeting will be hosted by Korea, as to when, that will be agreed upon by the end of this week.

“For us it could delay the progress of island biodiversity work in Kiribati,” said Nenenteiti Teariki-Ruatu, the Acting Director of Environment and Conservation Division, Ministry of Environment Lands and Agriculture, Kiribati.

“It’s at these meetings that we try to leverage either technical or financial assistance.  We have challenges in our office with trying to implement the Convention, due to our small administrations we are limited and have many other commitments to work and report upon.  We fear that if they delay the next CBD COP by a year, it could also mean that our work in country would also be delayed.” 

Kiribati plans to work towards implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (2010 – 2020) striving towards achieving the Aichi Targets upon return from the CBD COP 11.  One of the first steps to this will be to review their National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan to align it with the internationally agreed goals.

This needs to go simultaneously with getting the Kiribati Integrated Environment Plan (KIEP) 2012 – 2022 approved at the Secretaries and Cabinet levels, which is an umbrella plan to address the many environment challenges that Kiribati faces, as a low lying nation in the Pacific region. These will see the commitments agreed to at the international level come alive at the national level in Kiribati.

“Biodiversity is the basis of livelihoods and income at? the village, island and national levels in Kiribati.    It is very important - we need a healthy and intact biodiversity because without this we would not be able to survive living on the atolls.  Our biodiversity is very valuable to Kiribati.”

The island has a delegation of four at the CBD COP 11, with Nenenteiti playing a key role amongst the Pacific delegates, chairing the Pacific briefings each morning.  Kiribati will also be presenting at the Pacific Voyage Side Event in Hyderabad, India, talking about Innovative Financial Mechanisms on Protected Areas.

“This meeting here is a really important one for us.  We try to make the most of these global processes as we learn how to link the international programme of work to our national level.  It is also the place that we can interact, meet new people, share information about Kiribati and our biodiversity work as well as build new partnerships that help to strengthen and increase our technical and financial resources.”

The Kiribati delegation is made up of Mr. Manikaoti Timeon: Secretary & CBD National Focal Point – Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agriculture Development (MELAD); Mrs. Nenenteiti Teariki-Ruatu: Ag. Director – Environment & Conservation Division (ECD), MELAD; Mrs. Mikari Ooka: Economist (aid-multilateral), National Planning Economic Office, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development; Miss. Ratita Bebe, Wildlife Officer – Wildlife Conservation Unit – ECD, MELAD, they return home on 19th October 2012.

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