Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pacific island nations highlight their unity at global biodiversity conference

07 October 2014, Pyeongchang Korea, CBD COP12 - The Pacific island nations have showcased their unity at the 12th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, sharing with over 190 governments the joint framework on nature conservation and protected areas.

Recently endorsed at the 25th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and highlighted during the Third UN International Conference on Small Islands Developing States, the Framework for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas in the Pacific Islands region 2014 - 2020 is being celebrated yet again at the international arena.

"This is a significant milestone achievement for the Pacific Islands region mainly because the new Framework is closely aligned to the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plans," said Ms. Atelaite Matoto, Director for Environment of Tonga, who made a statement at the CBD COP 12.

"This is probably the first for any sub-region and the next six  6 years will be an exciting one for us as we embark on this journey to implement our commitments through this Framework.  We cannot work alone on this journey thus the need for us to work together."

Ms. Atelaite Matoto, Tonga

The regional framework was developed with the contribution and input of over 800 stakeholders from throughout the Pacific islands region at a conference hosted by Fiji in December last year and was raised during a global discussion on strengthening support to parties to meet the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Concerns have been raised by the fast rates of loss of biodiversity and the slow pace at which actions are happening to help address this.  Actions that are to be carried out to meet the global agreement of 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

To help the Pacific islands meet the Aichi BiodiversityTargets, the regional framework document helps encourage an integrated approach, coordinating work at biodiversity at national and regional level in the Pacific islands in partnership with stakeholders.

"Tonga extends an invitation to governments, development partners, organisations and institutions who wish to partner and collaborate with us," said Ms. Matoto.

"This includes our regional organisations such as the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) to ensure the successful implementation of the Framework and National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans which supports the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets in the Pacific Islands region."

The Framework for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas in the Pacific Islands region 2014 - 2020  will be shared at the CBD COP 12 during a special Pacific islands event.

14 Pacific island countries are party to the Convention on Biological Diversity with Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu currently in Korea attending the CBD COP12 from 6 - 17 October, 2014.  Soon to arrive are the Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fiji on the map, guiding coordination of UN convention

Pacific delegates at the CBD COP 12 in Korea
Ms. Eleni Tokaduadua front row second from left

6 October 2014, Pyeongchang Korea, CBD COP12 - Fiji represents the Pacific islands that are parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity on the Conference of the Parties Bureau.  This group acts as a board to provide guidance to the CBD Secretariat in coordinating any intercessional meetings and conferences over a two year period.

Fiji is one of two representatives for the Asia Pacific region on the CBD COP Bureau, along with Thailand, having been nominated by Pacific island parties at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the CBD in Hyderabad India in 2012.

Ms. Eleni Tokaduadua, Principal Environment Officer of the Department of Fiji is now coming to the end of her term as a representative on the CBD COP Bureau:

"One of the key objectives of the bureau which I thought was very relevant was to see how the Convention on Biological Diversity is mainstreamed into other sectoral programmes at the national level, and other UN conventions.  Partnerships has also been a driving force in Bureau discussions over the last two years as well as we progress the work and actions under this Convention."

As a representative of the Pacific islands, Eleni Tokaduadua has also worked to ensure that decisions made regarding funding, participation and resources available from the Convention on Biological Diversity is shared equally, that the Small Islands Developing States and the Least Developed Countries receive their fair share.

As Fiji's term on the COP bureau comes to an end, the Pacific will not be represented on the bureau until the 14th Conference of the Parties in 2018.  There are four sub regions within the Asia Pacific Region each taking turns two sub regions at a term.

Pacific delegates support drafting of statements at the Asia Pacific Meeting

"I'm privileged to be a member of the COP Bureau serving the Pacific region and I thank them for their confidence in me however it's important to flag a crucial point for future bureau members," said Tokaduadua.

"We as a sub region can improve.  While our Pacific representative drives our perspectives in this process, it is also important for countries to note that we as Pacific island parties also have a responsibility to meet our obligations, whether they be submitting reports in on time or abiding by travel arranged.  When we as a region don't have a positive profile due to our failure in meeting our obligations, that also reflects badly on the COP Bureau representative.  This is important to keep in mind."

Ms. Eleni  Tokaduadua is the head of the delegation of Fiji at the CBD COP 12 from 6 - 12 October in Pyeongchang, Korea.  At the Opening Plenary, Ms. Tokaduadua was elected as Rapporteur of the COP12 meeting which is quite a significant position to hold.  14 Pacific island countries are party to the Convention on Biological Diversity with Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu currently in Korea attending the CBD COP12.  Soon to arrive are the Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.

Fiji calls for united global action to meet 2020 biodiversity targets

6 October 2014, Pyeongchang Korea, CBD COP12 - In 2010 a global strategic plan for biodiversity was agreed upon with targets, known as the Aichi Targets, to be met by 2020 to halt the rate of biodiversity loss.  In a newly launched Fourth Edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook which provides a progress report on the state of global biodiversity today, governments were told that bold and innovative action is urgently required if the world is to meet these targets. 

Global Biodiversity Outlook 4 shows that three out of the 20 Aichi Targets are on track, with five of the targets needing much more effort and action.

In a statement to the floor at the 12th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity today, Fiji stressed their concern for the lack of progress and called upon global united action.

"Fiji is indeed happy to note that there has been significant progress towards meeting some components of the majority of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The report states that some target components, such as conserving at least 17% of terrestrial and inland water areas, are on track to be met," stated Mr. Rahul Chand on behalf of the Government of Fiji.

"However Fiji remains concerned and worried that the progress seen may not be sufficient to achieve the target that has been set for 2020.  Despite Fiji taking several measures on a national level we may yet find it difficult to achieve the targets by 2020 however we remain optimistic and hopeful that we as a global family will do everything possible to stop the decline of our biodiversity."

Aichi Target 10 aims for the multiple anthropogenic pressures on coral reefs, and other vulnerable ecosystems impacted by climate change or ocean acidification are minimised so as to maintain their integrity and functioning by the year 2015.

According to the Global Biodiversity Outlook 4 Report, pressures from both land-based and marine activities continue to increase which makes it unrealistic to believe the target will be met by 2015 as agreed.  

The percentage of reefs rated as threatened increased by nearly 30% in the decade to 2007, the latest period assessed. Overfishing and destructive fishing methods are the most pervasive threats affecting around 55 percent of reefs.  One-quarter of reefs are affected by coastal development and pollution from land, including nutrients from farming and sewage.  Around one-tenth suffer from marine-based pollution.

This is just one of the summary of results of 20 Aichi Targets in all, featured in the Global Biodiversity Outlook 4 Report.

Mr. Rahul Chand, Fiji

"If we need to double our efforts and double our resource mobilisation then so be it," said Mr. Chand.

"The report notes dramatic increases in relevant activities, initiatives and necessary mechanisms put in place by Parties to halt biodiversity loss, yet extrapolations for a range of indicators suggest that based on current trends, pressures on biodiversity will continue to increase at least until 2020, and that the status of biodiversity will continue to decline.  That is not good news and we hope the key messages within the report provide a strong basis for our deliberations during the week."

The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, and its 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, were agreed by the international community in 2010 in Nagoya, Japan, and have since been re-affirmed by the United Nations General Assembly and at the Rio + 20 summit in 2012.

The Global Biodiversity Outlook 4 Report was launched today  at the CBD COP 12, one year before the halfway point of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011 - 2020.

The CBD COP 12 is from 6 to17 October in Pyeongchang, Korea.  14 Pacific island countries are party to the Convention on Biological Diversity with Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu currently in Korea attending the CBD COP12.  Soon to arrive are the Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.

To download the full report please visit: www.cbd.int/gbo4
To read the full CBD Press release on the GBO 4:  http://www.cbd.int/doc/press/2014/pr-2014-10-06-gbo4-en.pdf

With wildlife populations cut in half, governments need to redouble efforts

WWF Media Release

Gland, Switzerland: A status report on biodiversity protection efforts shows that serious action is required to reduce pressures on natural systems and prevent continued decline of wildlife. The report was released on Monday at the opening meeting of the Convention of Biological Diversity in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The report, the fourth edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook, shows that some gains have been made toward meeting global targets for biodiversity protection. However, WWF is concerned that in most cases progress will not be sufficient unless urgent action is taken.  

“Governments must supercharge efforts to fulfill their promise to strengthen protections for nature by 2020,” said Susan Brown, WWF Director of Global Policy. “CBD, its parties and all stakeholders cannot afford to fail. This meeting must break down barriers to generate the willpower and resources to protect what little remains of our natural world." 

In 2010, parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted a strategic plan and the Aichi targets, a set of 20 goals aimed at stemming species and habitat loss by 2020. According to today's report, a target to reduce human impacts on coral reefs and other ecosystems impacted by climate change or ocean acidification will not be met by its 2015 deadline.

“The natural essentials of life – the ocean, fresh water, forests – are generally valued at zero when governments do their national bookkeeping,” said Brown. “We flip from apathy to panic when those same natural systems are damaged and the true economic and social costs of biodiversity loss are revealed. We need to invest in our natural infrastructure before we suffer its irreversible loss.”

Last week, WWF's Living Planet Report 2014 found that global wildlife populations have declined, on average, by 52 per cent in the 40-year period since 1970. According to the WWF report, freshwater species have suffered losses almost double that of land and marine species. The majority of these declines are coming from tropical regions, with Latin America enduring the most dramatic drop.

According to the WWF report, the biggest recorded threats to biodiversity come from the combined impacts of habitat loss and degradation. Exploitation of wildlife and climate change are also significant threats.

“The Living Planet Report and the Global Biodiversity Outlook highlight the dramatic changes we have seen in wildlife, both on land and in water. As societies rapidly develop, it is critical to integrate biodiversity goals into national efforts to address poverty eradication, food security, water, health, and energy,” said Brown

At the current round of meetings in South Korea, WWF is calling for the expansion of protected areas that are critical to safeguard natural places and wildlife. Emphasis should be placed on coastal systems that are connected to local livelihoods and food security. WWF is also asking governments to focus on halting deforestation and other habitat loss.

"Governments continue to work against their own interests by providing tax breaks and subsidies for nature-busting programmes,” said Brown. “We need to update and deliver national plans, at least double international funding for nature, and put in place financial incentives for protecting the natural foundation to the societies we want to build.”

# # #
About WWF

WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.  www.panda.org/news for latest news and media resources

Leanne Burton, WWF-Korea

David Hirsch, WWF-International


194 governments unite to save global biodiversity

6 October 2014, Pyeongchang Korea, CBDCOP12 - Traditional Korean drums set an exciting pace this morning at the opening of the 12th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the fast pace symbolic of the urgent need to save global biodiversity. 

The World Wide Fund for Nature's Living Planet Report 2014 found that global wildlife populations have declined on average by 52% in the 40 year period since 1970. 

Over the next two weeks thousands of representatives of governments, non-governmental organisations, indigenous peoples, scientists and the private sector are gathered to accelerate the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011 - 2020 and its 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets which are to be achieved by the end of 2020.

All of which contribute to halting biodiversity loss across the planet.

The collection of decisions to be taken at the CBD COP 12 is referred to as the Pyeongchang Road Map and is anticipated to include a resource mobilisation strategy expected to significantly increase the resources available for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.

"There has been increased financial investment and policy action to protect biodiversity, yet, studies show that it will be difficult to reach the full set of the Aichi targets if we remain within the current trajectory, due to accumulated and increased pressures on the natural world," said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner at the opening of the CBD COP 12.

"We need to do more, and do it fast, to protect the very fabric of the natural world."

At the opening today the Presidency of the Conference of the Parties was handed over from the Government of India to the Government of Korea.  The last Conference of the Parties to the CBD was hosted in Hyderabad, India in 2012.

The CBD COP 12 is from 6 to17 October in Pyeongchang, Korea.  14 Pacific island countries are party to the Convention on Biological Diversity with Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu currently in Korea attending the CBD COP12.  Soon to arrive are the Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.

To read the full CBD Secretariat press release on today's opening event please visit:  http://www.cbd.int/doc/press/2014/pr-2014-10-06-cop-12-en.pdf

Saturday, October 4, 2014

UN meeting agrees on decisions to advance the implementation of the International Agreement on the safe use of living modified organisms

Pacific delegates attending the Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety to the CBD,
L - R Kiribati, Palau, Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Fiji.

CBD Press Release

Pyeongchang/Montreal 3 October 2014. Governments attending a United Nations meeting on the safe use of living modified organisms have agreed on various actions to advance the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity as a global tool contributing to the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms (LMO) that may have negative effects on biodiversity.

Among the most significant outcomes was a decision inviting governments and other stakeholders to use the Guidance on Risk Assessment of Living Modified Organisms developed by an expert group that was established by governing body of the Protocol in actual cases of risk assessment and as a tool for capacity-building activities in risk assessment. A mechanism for revising and improving the Guidance was also agreed with a view to having an improved version of the Guidance by the eight meeting of the Parties in 2016.

The Parties also agreed to continue to identify living modified organisms intended for direct use as food or feed, or for processing that are subject to transboundary movement, by incorporating the information identified in decision BS-III/10 into existing documentation  accompanying living modified organisms.

Socioeconomic considerations were discussed extensively and a decision to re-convene a group of experts to further develop clarity on this issue and to develop an outline for guidance on this subject was adopted.

In a decision on improving the efficiency of structures and processes under the Convention and its Protocols, Parties agreed to hold subsequent meetings of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol concurrently with the other meetings of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Protocols, and also agreed that any Subsidiary body on Implementation established by the Convention should also serve the Protocol.

Parties also called upon countries that had not yet done so to ratify the Nagoya Kuala-Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress, and called upon the Executive Secretary to produce materials that would expedite its entry into force.

Pacific delegates attending the Cartegena Protocol to the CBD, L - R Mr. Joe Horokou (Solomons),
Mr. Puta Tofinga (Kiribati),  Ms. 'Eleni Tokaduadua (Fiji), Ms. Lupe Matoto (Tonga), Mr. Rahul Chand (Fiji)
and Mr. Fred Sengebau (Palau) 

Other decisions were reached on, inter alia, the Biosafety Clearinghouse, compliance, the financial mechanism and resources, monitoring and reporting, contained use of Living Modified Organisms and assessment and review of the effectiveness of the Protocol and the Protocol budget for the 2015 – 2016 biennium.

The meeting was closed by Mr. Lee In Ho, of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Government of the Republic of Korea, and Acting President of COPMOP7. 

He said: “All efforts made by the delegates over the past 5 days will pave the way for the effective implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, and the Korean government will spare no effort for the development of the Protocol as the hosting country. In particular, the Republic of Korea has created the “Korea Biosafety Capacity Building Initiative” for the implementation of the Protocol and capacity building, and the initiative has been adopted by the agreement of the Parties. I am looking forward to the cooperation between Korea and all Parties for the achievement of the initiative.”

Braulio Dias, United Nations Assistant-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, said of the meeting: “I congratulate the Parties on their hard work, and their spirit of compromise that they demonstrated this week. Their work has advanced the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol, and in so doing, not only ensures  biosafety, but also contributes to the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its important role in the global agenda for sustainable development.”

The meeting was the first of a series of three meetings of the Convention on Biological Diversity scheduled to take place in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea. The 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity opens on Monday 6 October 2014.

1. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Its objective is to contribute to ensuring the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms that may have adverse effects on conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health. 
2. The Protocol was adopted on 29 January 2000 in Montreal, Canada and entered into force on 11 September 2003. To date, 167 countries and the European Union have ratified or acceded to it. 
3. The Protocol is named after the Colombian city of Cartagena where the final round of its negotiations was launched.

Meet the Media Team at the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation: Merana Kitione

Journalist & Mentor: Merana Kitione
Merana trained as a broadcast journalist, working with radio and television in Fiji for 14 years. From news reporting, to editorial duties and then managing the News, Current Affairs and Sports team at Fiji TV, Merana always had a passion to coach, mentor and train people. She worked with Training and Development for the Fiji TV Group before leaving to manage a media development project in Vanuatu. As Team Leader of the Vois Blong Yumi Program (funded by Australian Aid and managed by the ABC) in Vanuatu, Merana worked with the national broadcaster on media strengthening initiatives from content development, professional attachments, programs for national elections, strategic planning and strengthening partnerships with provincial governments for program content and disaster management stakeholders on emergency broadcasting plans and facilities. She currently works with the regional media development initiative, PACMAS, a funder of this media initiative for the Nature Conservation conference.

Meet the Media Team at the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation: Priya Chand

Age : 22
Programme of study: Journalism and Management and Public Administration , USP
I simply hope to get a better understanding of the environment around us, the issues and ways of how we can deal with it. The signs of environmental change are all around us. Thus, by attending the 9th Pacific Island conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas, I hope to get a better insight of finding solutions on how Pacific Island countries can cope with the environmental challenges they face.
Especially after doing a Climate Change project for our Television unit this year, I have gained more exposure on the issues around us. As a reporter in training, I hope to gain valuable knowledge about the environment at large, and raise awareness on the importance of conserving nature.“

Meet the Media Team at the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation: Justine Mannan

Age: 24 years old
Programme of study: Journalism student at the Fiji National University
I am honoured to be a part of this event as it is my first time attending a large conference and being part of a media team. I hope to gain a wide range of knowledge and understanding from the conference itself, as well as working with other student journalists and senior journalists. Nature conservation is important because we need nature to survive and protect certain areas and species which is essential for human survival. Caring for the next generation and ensuring they grow up in a safe, clean and prosperous environment, we need to act now to conserve nature.

Meet the Media Team at the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation: Wati Talebula

Age: 22 years old
Programme of study: Media and Journalism student, Fiji National University
This conference will broaden my knowledge on issues that we should highlight as citizens of the Fiji Islands. I hope to know about environment related issues and how I as a student journalist will be able to help and share my knowledge to my families, friends and community as a whole. I think nature conservative is important because Fiji is a developing country and we need programs that will highlight issues that are related to climate change, climate monitoring, waste management and biodiversity. This conference will be a source of knowledge to me, because I will be able to learn more about what nature conservation is all about and how a country such as Fiji should be able to focus its priorities in regards to this.

Meet the Media Team at the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation: Eroni Tuinaceva

Age: 22 years old
Programme of study: Journalism student at Fiji National University
Malo Bula! I am currently a journalism student and hope to have a career in political journalism. Through attending the Conservation Conference and being part of the media team, I hope to broaden my knowledge on environmental conservation, especially in relation to climate adaptation. Coming from an island nation where many fragile ecosystems are still largely undisturbed, nature conservation plays a big part in making certain that many of the unique and fragile species that inhabit these ecosystems can continue to not only exist but flourish. With the growing threat of rising sea levels and temperatures, it is vital now, more than ever, that we work to protect and preserve many of our terrestrial and marine flora and fauna. Educating the community on the importance of nature conservation is what I hope to take with me after the conference and to share it with my family and friends.

Meet the Media Team at the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation: Shahani Mala

Age: 20 years old.
Programme of Study: Certificate IV in Media and Journalism at Fiji National University.
Being part of this activity will be a wonderful experience for me because I will get to learn a lot about nature conservation as Pacific Island countries are often affected by environmental problems such as climate change, sea level rise, availability of resources, population, cutting down of trees and soil erosion.
Apart from this, as a student journalist I will learn how to cover stories on environmental issues that affects Fiji and Pacific Island countries.

Meet the Media Team at the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation: Edward Tavanavanua

Age: 19 years old
Programme of study: Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Sociology, University of South Pacific
"Bula Vinaka! I know that being a part of this activity will deepen my appreciation for the natural world around me and serve as a platform to address and, hopefully, resolve current and future environmental problems in Fiji and the rest of the Pacific.
Also, I feel that as much as our country and people want to develop, economically and ideologically, we will ultimately fail in our pursuits if our environmental issues are left untended to.
I believe that sustaining the natural world is the key to sustaining the human race."

Meet the Media Team at the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation: Maryanne Lockington

Programme of Study: Undergraduate University of the South Pacific student studying law and journalism.

“I study Journalism at the University of the South Pacific. In addition to this, I’m also a creative writer, poet, human rights advocate and blogger. I hope to go into the field of human rights, NGO work and media in the future. I found that this forum activity would be a great opportunity for me, not just as a student but also because of my interest in the environment and conservation. In addition, I wanted to meet and learn from those that will be present, as well as, contribute something positive to this activity. Nature conservation is an important issue globally but I always think it has a special place in the hearts of the people in the Pacific region. I think it’s important that we protect our environment so that we have a safe and secure future to look forward to.”

Meet the Media Team at the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation: Josephine Navula!

Age: 21
Programme of Study: Certificate in Media and Journalism, Fiji National University

“By being part of this activity, I would like to achieve a wider knowledge about our environment and what the people are facing, in terms of the problems and challenges that our natural surroundings face.

From my point of view, I think we should practice nature conservation ourselves, to help our environment – the living things as well as we all depend on it, so as human beings, we must also learn to take care of our surroundings.”

Meet the Media Team at the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation: Carolyn Kitione

Age: 20
Programme of Study: B.A double majors in Journalism and Psychology, USP

“As a student studying both Journalism and Psychology, I believe it's important to facilitate discussions and establishcritical thinking on issues that are important. A prominent issue here in the Pacific that has become a fundamental subject all over the world is the change in our natural environment. The truth is, the Pacific can't grow economically if natural resources are not protected. For a region that heavily depends on nature to sustain their lifestyle, we need tohelp increase awareness on the extreme environmental changes and why it is happening. By being involved in the media team for this conference, I want to be able to increase my own understanding of the importance of nature conservation and at the same time identify and establish the link between the growing economy and a sustainable natural environment."