Engaging Countries for Improved Protected Area Information in Kiribati

3 January 2017

A national stakeholder’s workshop for Kiribati was completed this month to initiate national activities under the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) Programme. The workshop brought together various stakeholders to discuss national and local level coordination arrangements for protected areas which included protected areas administration and management, verifying capacity needs, determining gaps in protected area information, identifying current national data repositories and the types of data available and stored.

Kiribati is amongst the first countries in the region to establish large protected areas within their national boundaries. The Phoenix Island Protected Area (PIPA), declared in 2006 covers an area of over 400,000 square kilometres and has high biodiversity values.

A live demonstration of the Pacific Islands Protected Area Portal (PIPAP) was the main highlight of the gathering which generated a lot of interest and feedback from stakeholders on suggested improvements to make aspects of the portal more user friendly. The PIPAP is the main tool for the BIOPAMA Pacific programme and is a one-stop web-based resource for Pacific island protected area information. The PIPAP aims to store, manage and share data and information on protected areas and it will ensure the security and integrity of national data are properly managed in the long term. Analysis of country data in support of meeting their national priorities and regional and global targets is also a key function of the portal, once it is fully operational.

The priority focus for PIPAP (through the BIOPAMA programme) in the coming months is to actively engage countries to share their latest national protected area data for upload to the portal.

The key output of the workshop was a timeline of follow up actions to guide national activities over January and February 2017 – including stakeholder coordination, data collection and collation, identification and correction of discrepancies and gaps in protected areas information including identification of sensitive data and how to manage these.

“The BIOPAMA programme will help us to better organise and update our national protected area datasets and through the workshop today we have set the way forward towards achieving this goal. The Pacific island protected area portal is a great tool that will only get better in the coming month and years, ” said Mr George Taoaba of the Kiribati Environment ministry (MELAD).

“We look forward to the analysis of our protected area data and resulting products that would accurately reflect our progress towards meeting global biodiversity targets and serving the people and environment of Kiribati with effective conservation measures.”

“Overall, these are positive developments that the BIOPAMA programme can build on to assist Kiribati achieve Aichi target 11,” said Vainuupo Jungblut, SPREP BIOPAMA engagement consultant.

The main objective of the BIOPAMA programme is to assist Pacific ACP countries to meet their national priorities and regional and global commitments related to protected areas through improving access to and the availability of biodiversity data, development of information systems to improve decision making, improving access to the best available science and knowledge to enhance the work of existing institutions and networks on protected areas and building capacity for protected areas management.

Under the programme, a country mission and consultations have been completed for Solomon Islands, Tonga and now Kiribati. Technical missions to Samoa and Vanuatu are planned for January 2017.

The Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (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. It is an initiative of the ACP Group of States, financially supported by the European Union’s 10th European Development Fund (EDF). It is implemented by IUCN in collaboration with regional partners such as SPREP in the Pacific region.

This news story is provided by SPREP and also available here.

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