Thursday, 19 May 2011 7:28 AM

PILN highlighted as a model for South-South Cooperation

Seven-years since the Pacific Island countries requested for its set up - the Pacific Invasives Learning Network (PILN) will be showcased at a South-South Cooperation meeting in Korea from 18-20 May.

PILN which was endorsed by the SPREP member countries at its 15th meeting held in French Polynesia, started as a two year pilot project supported by eight environment organisations providing funding support and expert advice.

PILN is a network of national and local agencies working on invasive species in 13 Pacific Island countries and territories. The agencies from different government departments, the private sector and non-governmental organisations form teams to coordinate invasive species planning and to undertake field work.

PILN exists to address important issues that characterise the Pacific island countries, such as the limited resources in terms of human capacity, skills as well as financial and geographic isolation. Professional isolation is also another factor that if not addressed can lead to invasive species workers feeling helpless.

"PILN is about training our people on skills they need to do the job. When we trained them, we want them to go back and apply their new knowledge", says the PILN Coordinator, Dr Posa Skelton.

"We are there to encourage them to apply that knowledge and to assure them of the support from the rest of the network. The network is also there to share their achievements and to celebrate their successes".

Today 15 PILN teams are working on priority invasive species issues on their islands. Some of these teams have developed their invasive species strategy and action plans and they are in the implementation phase.

Capacity has been built on a wide-range of issues including strategic planning, eradicating pests from islands to developing awareness information for their communities.

The Convention on Biological Diversity is holding a meeting in Incheon, Korea to share capacity building experience from around the world focussing on developing countries, or south-south cooperation.

The South-South cooperation describes how information, knowledge, technology and resources are shared amongst developing countries.

The Pacific islands have a strong history of south-south cooperation especially in the environment field, which led to the establishment of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

The Pacific Invasives Learning Network, which is an important component of the SPREP invasive alien species work, will seek partnership opportunities with other capacity building initiatives from around the world.