10 July 2012, Bucharest, Romania - Oceania has a raised profile at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.For the first time, the group which includes Australia, Fiji, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea and Samoa have come together to take part in two key visible activities; a Pacific exhibition booth which opened last week and a side event on the evening of Thursday.
Plans to raise the visibility and profile of Oceania at this Convention began at the preparatory meeting of contracting parties from Oceania in Palau this year in March with a special planning session on communications funded by the EU and UNEP under the Capacity Building related to MEAs in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Countries Project.
The Pacific booth, a colourful exhibition amongst featured hundreds of copies of materials which have proven popular, with very few materials left for distribution and numerous requests for more information about wetlands conservation in the Pacific region.
"We were very surprised by the strong interest we received," said Ms. Nanette Woonton, the Media and Public Relations Officer of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
"Fortunately most of the Oceania parties brought materials to display, many of which disappeared just days after they were made available. We are really pleased that we took this approach to raise our profile as the interest has been amazing."
Also to take place is the "My Pacific, My Islands, My Wetlands" event on Thursday evening. This event will feature speakers from SPREP, Marshall Islands, Palau, Fiji and New Zealand. It will provide a regional overview of wetlands conservation in the Pacific, the sub-regional perspective on the Micronesia Challenge and the actions taking place at the national level in the Marshall Islands, Palau, Fiji and New Zealand.
During this event the Pacific Oceanscape will also be highlighted with a film that was showcased at the Rio+20 Earth Summit, produced by Conservation International. There will also be an injection of Pacific flavor with a giveaway prize of gifts from Oceania after a short quiz on the regions wetlands
"We're excited to bring a taste of the Pacific to Romania! We're really looking forward to it, this will be another chance for us to highlight what we are achieving in our region, the challenges we have faced, and point out just how much more we could achieve with added support."
This side event is also funded by the EU and UNEP under the Capacity Building related to MEAs in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Countries, Project.