Well we fast reached the end of CBD COP11 journey – this week has gone by faster than I can write blogs, only just realised that I have only had time to write one blog this week! This whole trip has flown by quicker than I think anyone would have expected – it has been action packed, colourful and a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
As an update on things since the last blog…we made it to the GLISPA evening event where David Sheppard signed the MoU with the SCB, a great result for SPREP and the Pacific. It was a highly successful evening where we enjoyed wonderful food, presentations, networking opportunities, a Go4BioDiv youth performance and an Island fiesta – a great night for all, well done GLISPA!
On the same night, Heather Ketebengang represented current and future generations of Palau when she received the World Future Council Gold Award for the best ocean and coastal policies. Yet another example of Pacific success on a global scale and a great opportunity for Heather, who we will no doubt see more of in conservation circles.
Thursday morning was a huge day for Pacific and SPREP delegates. We had an early start to the day with the GEF-SPREP breakfast event. This was a fantastic opportunity for Pacific countries and SPREP to get the full attention of GEF and their new CEO, Dr Naoko Ishii. These opportunities do not come along that often and I think we all made the most of it. The outcome is without doubt a stronger relationship with GEF and some full bellies.
In the evening SPREP hosted it side event – Nature protects if She is protected – we began setting up the room just after 5pm for our 6.15 start…by 5.15 people started to arrive! Thankfully we had some colourful pacific video clips to play to keep them all entertained while we did the set up. In the end around 60 people turned up to our event that was meant to host 50! Well done to the SPREP team and Pacific delegates on raising SPREP’s and this side event’s profile to attract such a large audience.
The event was mc-ed by David and went really well. It featured the Minister of Fiji, Col. Samuela Saumatua, who took the opportunity to launch the 9thPacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas. Other Pacific delegates contributed with presentations promoting Pacific successes in protected areas work, especially around marine resources.
The event was finished with a Go4BioDiv performance, well until security shut them done for being too enthusiastic and loud – in my opinion there’s no such thing! – but a big thank you to Go4BioDive youth team for their performance it added that extra something to our side event – fantastic job!
Now that Friday has arrived, the last day of the COP11 event, it is an opportunity to sit back and reflect on over two weeks of solid work. Overall I believe the Pacific and SPREP delegation at COP11 has been a success – we have achieved the goals we set out to achieve, build on existing relationships and established solid new partnerships.
As well as this we built new personal friendships, saw a small corner of this colourful country and experienced some of the people’s wonderful hospitality. All in all it has been a highly successful trip and personally rewarding journey.
We are all tired and exhausted from the long hours and hard work – but importantly satisfied with a job well done. Now it’s time for the 3 day journey back to Samoa!