Thursday, 8 July 2010 6:38 AM

Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation Meets in Samoa

Press Release - "Climate Solutions: Invest in Biodiversity" is the theme of the thirteenth gathering of the Pacific Islands Round Table for Nature Conservation that opened in Samoa this morning.

The coalition of nature conservation partners works to improve collaboration and coordination towards effective conservation action in the Pacific region.

Close to 100 participants will discuss effective biodiversity conservation as the key frontline response to climate change.

Opening the meeting at the Development Bank Building in Apia today, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Government of Samoa, Hon. Faumuina Tiatia Liuga asked that participants not only focus on climate change but also recognise the importance of other environment concerns such as biodiversity conservation.

"While climate change is perceived as a hot topic on the international agenda, don't lose sight of other environment issues in our region. Nature conservation is important and it is linked to our cultures and traditions."

2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity which underlies the importance of the meeting of the Pacific islands roundtable for nature conservation. Nations around the world are expected to have met key international targets for biodiversity loss as agreed to by Heads of State at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable development to halt biodiversity loss by 2010. The Pacific has adopted the theme "Value Biodiversity - It's our Life" to celebrate this year.

Mr. Taholo Kami, Chair of the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation and IUCN Oceania Regional Director, welcomed participants to the regional meeting and urged them to also celebrate good conservation efforts in the region.

"We haven't come close to reaching the 2010 target to have a declining biodiversity loss and climate change hovers as a threat and challenges us as Pacific islanders with our livelihoods and as conservationists. From this meeting we should have exciting outcomes as we look at the link between biodiversity and conservation and take time to learn from each other in the region. "

Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation partners have been encouraged to sign a charter outlining their commitment to the 2008 to 2010 Action Strategies and Principles adopted at the 8th Pacific Nature Conservation and Protected Areas conference held in Alotau, Papua New Guinea in 2007. 13 key partners have now signed this charter.

This week the 2010 Round Table meeting aims at setting longer term priorities for the next 10 years which will be consolidated to develop as priorities for the next Action Strategy for 2013 to 2017. The role of biodiversity as a climate change solution may be reflected in the coming priorities.

Mr David Sheppard the Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) during his keynote speech on Climate change and Natural solutions outlined that effective biodiversity conservation is the key frontline response to climate change.

"We need to develop more effective links between climate change and biodiversity as well as Pacific solutions to Pacific problems. Nature based solutions to climate change should be given more emphasis."

The conference ends on Friday with a presentation of meeting outcomes and resolutions. Participants are meeting in the Development Bank of Samoa in Apia and they represent nature conservation and development organisations, governments, inter-government, donor agencies, Pacific governments and community groups with an interest in Nature Conservation.

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