The Pacific islands led the way at the thirteenth conference of the convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP13) holding a side event on day one of the global conference. The Pacific Protected Areas Portal (PIPAP) was a big component of the activities showcased towards implementation of Aichi Targets, together with work undertaken by the European Union, Samoa, Fiji, Australia and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
The event was well received with queries from regions far away from the Pacific islands, wanting to learn more about work undertaken in the Pacific to apply within their own circumstances.
The European Union spoke of their work in the Pacific island region, with particular emphasis provided by the EU on BIOPAMA, a project establishing regional observatories for protected areas and biodiversity. In the Pacific islands region, the Pacific Islands Protected Areas Portal has been developed (www.sprep.org/pipap), a one stop shop of protected areas information to help advance the conservation of nature.
"What we are creating is not only a bridge for technicians across the different regions," said Mr Gregoire Dubois of the European Commission Joint Research Centre, "this is also a bridge between different actors – bridging the information to those on the ground as well as the policymakers who can use this information in their planning and decision making."
"It is ambitious but it will be helpful."
Samoa shared its work in mainstreaming biodiversity into different sectors through strategies, policies and roadmaps.
"It is a challenge, as we have 14 different priority areas across Samoa in our development strategy, however we have the structures in place and are implementing this well," said Ms Fuatino Matatumua-Leota.
"There are three sector plans the Agriculture, Environment and Tourism Sector Plans which will help mainstream biodiversity, that is a factor considered within these."
Mr Raul Chand of Fiji outlined the commitment and progress of their work towards protected areas which is a key priority in Fiji's National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans and was followed by Ms Jamie Grubb of Australia who shared their journey of their Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2010 – 2030.
"Conserving biodiversity is everyone's responsibility and everyone has a role to play. We need to better engage the public and ensure we maintain broader community support and appreciation of Australia's natural values in all landscapes."
"If we can better collaborate and engage across governments, sectors and the community, we can reinforce the message of shared responsibility and achieve greater and lasting outcomes for biodiversity conservation."
"We have done a lot, but there is more to do! While we have achieved much success, there are still significant challenges ahead, however we are well placed to address them."
The panel of presentations were concluded with a regional overview from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) which has a Programme of Work on Protected Areas to empower Pacific island members to achieve Aichi Targets.
"Our main commitments in terms of key actions include strengthening the Pacific Islands Protected Area Portal which is an online data and information platform that brings together relevant information to support decision-making for planning, designating and managing protected/managed areas in the Pacific region; policy and technical advisory support: capacity building through workshops and targeted training; partnership coordination; and project management including project development and implementation," said SPREP Director General, Mr Kosi Latu.
"Cooperation and collaboration with partners is crucial to our work."
The Pacific islands side event was held on Monday, 5 December at the CBD COP13.
Pacific island parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity are the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Original article by SPREP, available here.