9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas: A Success
By Justine Mannan, journalism student of FNU
6 December 2013, Suva Fiji - The 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas has come to a closing after five days of meetings, plenary sessions and workshops.
Mr. David Sheppard, the Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), summed up the conference in one word – "outstanding."
"The participants are the ones who have made this event outstanding, through your active participation at all the events, through running such excellent side events, and by your active input to the Action Strategy and Declaration arising from this conference" Mr. Sheppard said.
Mr. Sheppard highlighted the issues facing the Pacific today such as loss of biodiversity, invasive species and climate change, together with the steps to help minimise the threats to our environment.
"The conference has underlined that better conservation and management of ecosystems is essential and that natural solutions must be a key front line response to climate and many of the other challenges facing our region."
"In the earlier conferences we looked to countries outside our region for our guidance and direction. Now this situation has turned as it is clear that the world is now looking at our region as a source of inspiration and guidance on nature conservation," Mr. Sheppard said.
Mr. Taholo Kami, the Regional Director Oceania, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), acknowledged everyone who has contributed to the success of the conference, from representatives of the communities, faith based organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGO) and civil societies, Pacific island government representatives to the volunteers.
"Congratulations and thank you for hosting us with a great conference, thank you all for the celebration and the success" Mr Kami said.
Fiji is now the Chair of the Conference until the next event in 4 - 5 years time.
Justine Mannan is a member of the Media Team providing coverage of the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas from 2 to 6 December in Suva, Fiji. This is a partnership between the Fiji National University (FNU), University of the South Pacific (USP), SPREP and Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) whereby a team of 10 journalism students are mentored by senior reporters as they cover the conference. This activity is funded by the Pacific Assistance Media Scheme (PACMAS).