Neil Walkinshaw from NZ is the SPREP Conference Coordinator, working at SPREP to assist in setting up the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas, to be held in Fiji 2013. It’s Neil’s first time to attend a Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The COP11 meeting is now officially open and in full swing. Monday morning was taken up by the official opening ceremony and plenary sessions with India taking the chair from Japan. The two main working groups began the same day with SPREP staff and Pacific delegates represented in both streams. The Pacific delegates, supported by SPREP, have made regular and positive interventions in the proceedings to ensure the Pacific voice and perspective is heard.
A plethora of interesting side events is also underway. These side events are providing update reports, developments and new initiatives on a wide range of topics, as well as lessons learnt and capacity building opportunities to delegates and countries – check out the blogs on ABS and EBSA for more on these two topics.
These side events have proven excellent opportunities to raise awareness and seek support for the 9th Pacific Islands Conference to be held in Fiji next year and other SPREP work in the Pacific. Of course it is always great fun making new contacts and meeting new potential partnerships.
The SPREP display booth at the CEPA Fair is proving rather popular with delegates with many resources been taken up daily. Every time I stop by to keep things tidy I get swamped with delegates interested to know more about SPREP and our role and work in the Pacific – describing where Samoa is, in answer to where we are based, is always an amusing experience! Thankfully there’s a map on the back of our business cards!