Canoe Voyage Delivering Key Message About Protected Areas in the Pacific

1 September 2014

The ‘Mua: Guided by Nature’ canoe voyage to Sydney for the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 is a compelling and striking way of conveying and advocating the importance of the Pacific’s protected areas to the world – and that is one reason why the BIOPAMA (Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management) programme is lending support.

In July this year, the ‘Mua: Guided by Nature’ voyage was announced, with the voyaging societies of Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga agreeing to sail traditional voyaging canoes from the Pacific Islands to Sydney for the Congress – a landmark global forum about protected areas held once every ten years, bringing together around more than 3,000 people from over 160 countries.

The purpose of this journey is to convey a unified Pacific voice on conservation to the Congress, and to the world. This Pacific voice speaks about the importance of the region’s large oceans and unique island spaces, and their global value in a changing climate. The Pacific contains big ocean states but small island communities, and these communities are guided by ancient traditional knowledge that provides the cultural tools to be resilient in the face of the impact of climate change.

The voyage draws attention to the stand made by many Pacific Island leaders who have pledged millions of square kilometres toward protecting marine areas, while Pacific Island communities drive local action to secure and sustain livelihoods.

Highlighting and supporting the conservation of these large marine protected areas is one of the objectives of the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) programme. The BIOPAMA programme aims to address threats to biodiversity in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, while reducing poverty in communities in and around protected areas. The programme makes science and knowledge available to existing institutions and networks, in order to build capacity and improve policies and decision-making on biodiversity conservation, protected areas management and access and benefit-sharing.

The voyage starts from Rarotonga, Cook Islands in mid-September, eventually arriving into Sydney Harbour on 12 November for the opening of the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014.

The BIOPAMA programme is supporting the voyage to help the Pacific voice be heard by the world and in recognition of the mutual objectives relating to protected areas.

BIOPAMA is being implemented by IUCN Oceania in the Pacific, and is funded by the European Union through the intra-ACP envelope of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).

For more information please contact Tony O’Keeffe, Protected Areas Coordinator, [email protected].

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