Tuesday, October 26, 2010

[pima.nius] Pacific Voyage Media Team: News from Nagoya, Japan

11:34 AM |


should you wish any particular stories or photos, please contact the Pacific voyage media team at nanettew@sprep.org<mailto:nanettew@sprep.org> .

The Pacific Voyage Media Team consists of Ms. Bernadette Carreon of the Palau Horizon, Mata'afa Keni Lesa of the Samoa Observer and our Year of Biodiversity intern Mr. Clive Hawigen who is writing a daily log.

Please visit our blog for more stories and images - http://bionesian.blogspot.com that are not featured here.

Tofa soifua from Nagoya,


Secretariat of the
Pacific Regional
Environment Programme

PO Box 240, Apia, Samoa
E: sprep@sprep.org
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Pacific Voyage News
For these stories from the Pacific Voyage Media Team and much more on the CBD COP 10, please visit http://bionesian.blogspot.com

The Pacific Voyage Media Team is suported by UNESCO and the CBD Secretariat

26 October 2010

 *   SPREP and CBD meet
 *   "We have the plan but give us the dollars" (Palau)
 *   Navigating the Pacific Voyage at the Nagoya biodiversity talks (SPREP)
 *   Global funds to address environmental concerns (GEF)
 *   Pacific examples lead the way in nature conservation (Fiji, Vanuatu)

SPREP and CBD meet

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has agreed to work closely at the national and regional level on issues related to biodiversity and climate change.

Following a meeting with CBD Executive Secretary, Dr Ahmed Djoghlaf, Director of SPREP, David Sheppard said they discussed the existing Memorandum of Understanding and agreed to continue expanding cooperation in the future.

Mr.  Sheppard elaborated that one of the key issues discussed was the importance of strengthening of carrying outi the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs).

Dr Djoghlaf highlighted the planned Global Programme of Capacity Development Workshops whichwill be organized through 2011-12 to assist countries with updating their NBSAPs in line with the new strategic plan.

This will be a key component of a broader programme with the overarching aim to support implementation of the Convention.  In particular it will advance the new strategic plan and other relevant decisions from COP10 by supporting national implementation through global and regional programmes of capacity development and knowledge management.  The Partnership approach will be a main factor.

Dr Djoghlaf, in a statement presented to Mr. Sheppard stated that, "In line with the new Strategic Plan and the consolidated guidance for the development, updating and implementation of NBSAPs the workshops will assist countries to translate the Post 2010 strategic plan into national targets and commitments, and integrating these into updated NBSAPs.  This second generation of NBSAPs must be effective tools for mainstreaming biodiversity into broader national policies, strategies and planning processed."

Under the fifth allocation of funds of the Global Environment Facility (GEF-5) (2010-2014), it is expected that US500 000 will be allocated to each GEF-eligible country for biodiversity planning. The workshops, held throughout 2011 will help guide and orientate countries, in line with COP guidance, so that they can make early and effective use of these funds, thereby ensuring an early start to the process of implementing the new Strategic Plan.

"We have the plan but give us the dollars"

Pacific island countries remain adamant a new Strategic Plan to protect the environment will be adopted on Friday at the end of the 10th Meeting of Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), in Nagoya.

Joe Aitaro, of Palau and one of the key negotiators for the Pacific, said progress was slow especially in the area of funding.

"We're here, we're all very passionate and we still have hope that we're going to reach an agreement on Friday," he said.  "If not, word is that the Chairman will start an inter-government working group to work on those minor details and then present it back [to the parties].

"So there is still hope for us. But it will be a nice message when we go back to the world, especially in the year of Biodiversity that we came up with an agreement in Nagoya."

Such an agreement will be crucial "to determine the future of life on earth."

Mr Aitaro said funding is among the sensitive issues.

"The developing partners are saying they're not quite sure as how, what type of capacity we need and how it's being funded," he said.  "So they're coming up with a lot of 'add-ons' like we should have a plan for a plan to implement the plan.
"We're saying, we already have a plan, just give us the funds and we'll implement the plan. At the end of the day, it's the will of the people with the dollars. If they want to make sure we achieve the concept and the goals of this convention, they should actually start funding these activities."
Small island countries have been at the end of the line, Mr Aitaro said.

"We have been making a lot of impact on island biodiversity especially conservation management so it's time they need to shift their paradigm thinking and look at successful countries in the Pacific."

Biodiversity progress in the Pacific has been slow. But Mr Aitaro said a lot of the progress depends on funding.

"For the Pacific, when it comes to the targets for protected areas in the marine, we want to see more ambitious targets set by our partners," he said. "Globally it's like only 1.7percent of the marine is conserved, yet we in the Pacific, when we look at it as a group in the Oceania, we have the most in terms of percentage that's already in the MPA (Marine Protected Areas).

That's a testament that we're doing more with less and yet countries with the technology and resources cannot seem to mobilise [their resources] in the marine area."

The discussions about access and benefit sharing are extremely important to the Pacific, said Mr Aitaro.

"It's time where countries need to make some sacrifices and compromise," he said. "How long can this thing continue to drag? It's been two years now, we've got to put a stop to it. It comes down to compliance and for the Pacific it's our sovereign right, the ownership of these genetic resources."

Mr Aitaro said Pacific delegates are happy with the progress on marine coastal issues.

"We've got good representation in there so it's moving along but at a slow pace," he said.  "The Pacific's voice is being heard in these contact groups and it's a good indication for me that we are well represented in our areas."

Gaining financial support, however, is a priority.

In all the quarters, everyone is looking for somewhere to either get support from these private organisations or funding agencies to try and advance what's happening," he said.

"All indications coming in right now is that they are going to continue the level of funding for the CBD which to us is kind of ironic because now we're talking about ABS and no funding.  For us, there is a lot issues that depend on other countries and their interest.

"We want activities; we want the secretariat to fund activities on the ground that we have already started. We just need a little help to reach the visions of our countries."

Navigating the Pacific Voyage at Nagoya Biodiversity Talks

Easter Galuvao is SPREP's Biodiversity Advisor and one of the navigators of the Pacific Voyage at the CBD COP 10. Having only commenced her new position at SPREP in April this year, she has jumped in at the deep end with the task of coordinating the Pacific island "voyage" to the 10th international conference of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Preparations for the Conference have involved hosting a regional preparatory meeting (known as the Pre-COP), dissemination of key information, coordinating support from  – regional organisations, NGOs and key partners and developing a briefing paper for Pacific island countries to help identify key issues for the region.

"This regional approach has enabled us to amplify the Pacific voice at the COP – presenting statements on behalf of the Pacific Island parties getting our messages across," said Ms Galuvao.

This is important for small island nations striving to be heard at a 15,000 person-strong international event.

The Pacific countries have been working hard to make sure that their position on issues such as access and benefit sharing (ABS), invasive species, biodiversity and climate change, the strategic action plan and financing are well articulated at the global negotiations.

Ms Galuvao says that even though she was well-versed on the CBD, getting to fully understand the current issues for the negotiations has been a somewhat daunting experience.

"This is the first time I have attended a Conference of Parties as a SPREP representative and the first thing you need to learn is to understand the roles of IGOs in the process and how to effectively provide support to the Pacific Island Parties," she says. "There are formal working group meetings, contact group meetings and, of course the plenary sessions – you have to get your head around all these fit together first before you can do anything else".

"Then, of course, you have the history," she adds. "The draft working papers often refer to some decision made two or even three meetings ago. Those who have been attending the various meetings sometimes take it for granted that everyone else has this background."

In actual fact, having to learn the process first hand and in a short space has possibly been an unexpected advantage for SPREP's new Biodiversity Adviser and for many of the new Pacific delegates.

"Because I have had to learn myself, I have probably been more empathetic of our delegates' needs," she explains.

Certainly, Ms Galuvao's input to the preparations is not over. As the second week of the negotiations unfolds, she continues to provide her assistance where needed, and is now in the process of facilitating a high level event with Pacific Environment Ministers during the week. As one of the navigators of the Pacific Voyage, Ms. Galuvao looks forward to as smooth a sail as possible on their Pacific Voyage to Nagoya and back to the Pacific.

"The work doesn't stop here; we now have to look at actions to implement the outcomes of the Nagoya conference," she said.

Global funds to address environment concerns

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has announced a record US$4.44 billion (T$11.24b) in funding.

The aid, the 5th replenishment, is the largest increase in new donor support for the organisation which unites 182 member governments - in partnership with international institutions, nongovernmental organisations, and the private sector - to address global environmental issues.

The announcement was made by Monique Barbut, CEO, at the 10th Meeting of Parties (COP 10) to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) at Nagoya Congress Centre, Japan.

"I promise that we will do more with these resources by continuing and expanding our work programme in each GEF focal area," said Ms Barbut. "We will also do more by engaging in new and innovative activities that create synergy among various sectors."

The announcement made during a side event well attended by Pacific representatives at the Nagoya negotiations. Director of the Vailima-based SPREP (Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme), David Sheppard was among leading officials at the event.

"Clearly, we must continue our efforts to ensure the GEF remains a world class institution," Ms Barbut said. "The fifth replenishment gives us this opportunity and I want to touch on a few of our reforms that I think will cement our legacy as a catalyst for environment change."

Some of the reforms include:

Commitment to being a fully integrated results-based management system for portfolio monitoring. This will include opening the project database to agencies to input data for project implementation reports.
Commitment to enhance country-driven agenda. The strengthening of country ownership is top priority. GEF is also reforming the Country Support Programme for Focal points to make it even more effective. A key part will be the provision of small grants to interested countries to fund portfolio identification exercises.
Expansion on direct access agenda by providing grants to countries for preparation of national reports and communications to the conventions. Countries will have the option of requesting funding either from the GEF Agencies or directly from the GEF Secretariat.
Expansion of the GEF Partnership. GEF-5 Replenishment recognised that GEF would benefit from an expansion of the member and type of agencies that are able to receive resources directly from the GEF Trust Fund. This will give countries greater choice and will open GEF to a broader range of expertise and contacts.

The GEF is an independent financial organisation which provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.

These projects benefit the global environment, linking local, national, and global environmental challenges and promoting sustainable livelihoods.

The GEF has a number of projects in the Pacific.

In Samoa, the Savaia Marine Biodiversity Conservation Project is one of them. This is a village-based, owned and operated protected area.

According to information on the GEF website, marine resources at Savaia are managed in a sustainable manner for the benefit of village people now and in the future.

"The aim is to sustain the momentum and success of the existing reserve by extending its boundaries to accord protection of a wider area of the village marine environment and to reintroduce certain marine species that were once abundant in the area.

"The ultimate goal is to declare a significant part of the coastal lagoon area of Savaia marine reserve and to apply sound management practices in its operations. The project has a strong partnership with the Fisheries Division providing on-going technical support."

Pacific examples lead the way in nature conservation

The Pacific Voyage Media Team, 26 October Nagoya Japan - Fiji has demonstrated that they are a model for the Pacific in adopting and putting into practice ridge-to-reef management, also known as ecosystem-based management (EBM).

Eleni Rova Tokaduadua, from the Ministry of Local Government, Housing, Urban Development and Environment of Fiji, conducted a presentation that showcased how this nation was able to mainstream EBM practice both into government policies and implement it at the community level.

Community-based ecosystem management led to the adoption of a range of management measures, including fishing gear restrictions, restrictions on fishing methods, protection of species and the establishment of networks of marine and terrestrial protected areas.

EBM takes into account interactions among species, habitats and biophysical processes. Central to EBM is the idea that humans are an integral part of the ecosystem, since humans derive various services from the ecosystem and can also influence ecosystem processes.

As Fiji has shown, people can influence and manage ecosystems on many levels, from locally-based approaches to nationally applied policies.

Pacific Island nations are facing critical environmental issues – pollution, habitat destruction, declining fisheries and climate change – which threaten their coastal ecosystems and impact on food security and well being.

Ecosystem-based management (EBM) offers an innovative approach to managing these threats in coastal ecosystems as it designs solutions to ecological issues with regard to social, economic and political drivers. This approach involves holistic thinking with participation from a broad range of stakeholders, including the government and traditional leaders, and differs markedly from a sectoral approach..

Tokaduadua says that the Fiji government has put in place statutes to address environmental issues, including the Environment Management Act 2005, which authorized the creation of Fiji's Integrated Coastal Management Committee. The Committee is explicitly applying EBM concepts to develop a National Coastal Plan for Fiji.

Vanuatu has also taken a leadership role in actively implementing EBM. Touasi Tiwok of the Vanuatu Department of Environment highlighted a case study where vetiver grass and acacia trees have been planted to trap sediment and re-establish indigenous forest in Aneityum Island, which suffers from erosion that has reduced the health of the adjacent coral reefs.

Tiwok says the great success of the project was due to the commitment of the small band of workers who shown dedication in forestry planting to prevent erosion sites. It might have taken years but the project paid off improving the state of its shores from erosion.

In the same event, Stacy Jupiter, the Wildlife Conservation Society Fiji Country Program Director, launched a guide book on EBM principles to help governments, communities and conservation practitioners incorporate this approach into their management practices. The guide is specifically tailored to the needs and conditions of island countries in the Pacific."

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