Thursday, July 28, 2011

[pima.nius] Environment News

12:34 PM |

via Pacific Journos

·         Achieving Sustainable Development in the Pacific (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Government of Samoa, SPREP, UN)

·         SPREP to provide support to the Pacific for Rio+20 (SPREP)

·         "Economy must go green to ensure sustainability: says Environment Minister" (Pacific Islands Round Table for Nature Conservation)

·         14th Pacific Islands Round Table for Nature Conservation, SPREP Statement delivered by Stuart Chape, Programme Manager – Island Ecosystems (SPREP)

 

 

 

 

457px-Coat_of_Arms_SamoaSPREP-wide-colour.jpg233523693_UN_LOGO20copy_answer_101_xlarge

 

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

Achieving Sustainable Development in the Pacific

 

Monday 25 July, Apia, SamoaThe Prime Minister of Samoa, Honourable Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, in opening the Joint Ministerial Meeting on Thursday 21 July at the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, issued a challenge to the Pacific Island Governments to "be aware of our responsibilities to provide for our people's needs within the confines of our meager resources; and to strike a delicate balance between environment conservation and sustainable economic growth and development, in order to meet our obligations for the Pacific's current and future generations."

 

The meeting provided an opportunity for the ministers to be informed on the objectives of and preparations for Rio+20, jointly consider issues that are relevant to the Pacific and generated the Pacific's inputs in preparation for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20 (UNCSD) in June 2012. Participants discussed creating a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, the need for a blue economy addressing oceans and related issues, the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD), and emerging issues and partnerships.

 

The delegates recognized that there was much work to be done in the lead-up to UNCSD and little time to do it. They identified the value and benefits in engaging in the process and the opportunities that it represents, particularly in regard to the green economy.

 

The need to recognize the importance of "blue economy" in the green economy theme, was stressed to highlight the uniqueness of the region based on the Pacific's oceanic character. Cook Islands provided an insight into the Government efforts towards greening the economy through the establishment of a large marine park for conservation using half of their 2.2 million square kilometers of EEZ. According to the Prime Minister of Cook Islands, Honourable Henry Puna; "This is a significant proportion of our sea and ocean. But we feel that this is an action that is necessary our seas are our resources to utilize to our advantage. But we need to do so balancing what we take and what we leave behind so that we will always have this resource for generations to come."

 

Solidarity and unity between the Pacific Island Countries in voicing Pacific issues and needs to the regional and global arenas was reiterated throughout the day. New Caledonia's introduction of "The One Tree, One Life, One Day" project was strongly supported by the Ministers to be a regional initiative, as an example of unity within the Pacific on environment. The project aims to trigger change and identify areas for the achievement of sustainable development.

 

In the Pacific, climate financing and access to financial support are crucial in order to ensure investment by the Governments and stakeholders into the green economy approach. Strict donor conditions and reporting processes and limited national capacities were considered to be factors hindering the islands from applying for funds, thus the need for more support and less stringent procedures from the donors.

 

As noted by most of the delegates, the green economy approach is not a "one size fits all" approach and each island nation have to decide on the most suitable approach for sustainable development. The underlying message was that development must not be undertaken at any cost to the islands. "We should focus on maximizing social and economic development without sacrificing our environment," said the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Finance for Nauru, Honourable Dr Kieren Keke.

 

According to Taholo Kami of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), "Green economy is not an option, it is imperative for our survival." The delegates agreed that the Pacific should take note of the progresses from the past; successes, gaps and challenges that should be addressed and implement practical ways for achieving sustainable development and eradicating poverty in the region. As the Minister of Finance for Samoa, Honourable Faumuina Tiatia Liuga stated, "It is time to walk the talk."

 

Mr Kosi Latu, Acting Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) noted the special request by the Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS) for technical support during the continued negotiations leading up to Rio+20 and will play its role in coordinating this through the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific Sustainable Development and Marine Sector Working Groups. SPREP will also assist Samoa's Minister for Natural Resources and Environment as Chair of the Pacific Preparatory Meeting when he takes the Pacific's views to the Asia Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting and the Small Islands Developing States Inter-regional Meeting later this year.

 

Over 70 participants including Government representatives, UN bodies, regional organisations, non government and inter government organisations attended the Rio+20 Pacific meeting which preceded with a two day Open Forum and concluded with the Joint Ministerial meeting on Friday.

 

The meeting concluded with the drafting of an Outcome Document that will assist in facilitating national, sub-regional and regional preparations for and engagement in the Rio+20 process. According to the Head of the UNESCAP Pacific Office, Iosefa Maiava, the final document "will be a call to the international community to take the Pacific's issues seriously in achieving sustainable development through green/blue economy."

 

 

 

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) T: 685 21929  F: 685 20231  W: www.sprep.org

 

 

SPREP to provide support to the Pacific for Rio+20

 

27 July 2011 - The Pacific meeting to prepare for the Earth Summit 2012, also known as Rio+20, provided the opportunity to reflect on the what was achieved since the first World Summit on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, 1992.

 

Spanning over a period of three days, the Rio+20 preparatory meeting brought together Governments, NGO's, development partners, the church and pacific youth to help forge a way forward as the world leads towards the next Earth Summit in June next year.

 

Acting Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), Mr. Kosi Latu says now the preparatory meeting is over, the next steps must address the challenges to sustainable development in our region.

 

"Some key bottlenecks in the process of sustainable development need to be urgently addressed in particular the meeting of existing commitments by our development partners and the improvement of access to the financing mechanisms set up as part of the Rio process."

 

 "New climate financing arrangements need to be linked to measures that address accessibility. Many of the problems that pacific islands face related to issues such as climate change, the unsustainable use of resources and the loss of habitat arise from the actions particularly of developed countries and we need to continue to engage them with a view that they set or meet commitments that will address these problems."

 

The two themes of the Earth Summit 2012 are "Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication", as well as "institutional framework for sustainable development".  These themes do not replace the existing initiatives towards sustainable development but rather serve to focus actions on greening the economy and strengthening institutional frameworks.

 

"It's the right kind of growth we're trying to promote so it's socio economically balanced development, taking into account people's livelihood, cultures, life styles and reducing environment degradation," said Dr Wari Iamo the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Conservation, also the current Chair of SPREP.

 

"It's really adjusting growth to the well being of the people, but at the same time taking into account the resources we affect."

 

SPREP will now work with sister agencies in the region, all committed towards assisting member states in their preparations towards Rio+20 through either national or joint positions in groupings such as Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) or the Alliance of the Small Island States (AOSIS).

 

"We have also noted the special request by the PSIDS for technical support during the continued negotiations leading up to Rio+20 and will play its role in coordinating this through the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific Sustainable Development and Marine Sector Working Groups," said Mr. Latu.

 

The Rio+20 Pacific Preparatory Meeting was held from 20 – 22 July in Apia, Samoa with the support of partners including SPREP, the United Nations and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Government of Samoa.

 

 

 

RTLogo

 

"Economy must go green to ensure sustainability: says Environment Minister"

 

Press release from the Roundtable for Nature Conservation in the Pacific Islands

 

 

Lami, Fiji July 26 (PIRNC) - In opening the 14th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation (PIRNC) today in Lami, Fiji, Colonel Samuela Saumatua the Minister for Urban Development, Housing, Local Government and Environment of Fiji emphasized the need for Pacific economies to go green if the region is to ensure its economic viability.

Responding to the existing global pressure to change the current sustainability pattern, in which the economy, environment and social pillars function almost independently to each other, Colonel Saumatua said that the Green Economy concept, if adopted, "holds out much promise" for the region "to achieve sustainable development and poverty eradication".

The Green Economy concept, proposed as one of two significant themes of discussions in next year's UN Conference on Sustainable Development, promises to fully incorporate the environmental and the social agenda into the current economic discussions.

The Green Economy encourages the economy and environment to work as mutually supportive partners and not as competitors.

"Given the high dependency of Pacific Islands on their natural environment, with commodities such as fisheries, timber and tourism dominating many national economies, it would therefore make sense to invest in a green economy, said Colonel Saumatua.

Taholo Kami, Chair of the PIRNC and Regional Director of IUCN Oceania, noted that the Pacific "may not have a choice" when it comes to greening the economy. "For us, without our environment and unique societies, we have little else to offer to the global market"

"Twenty years after the first Rio meeting in 1992, the world is facing the consequences of ignoring the principles of sustainable development. Today to deal with the consequences, we need a green economy approach".

In response, the Program Manager of the Islands Ecosystems Program at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Stuart Chape said "we do indeed need a different economic paradigm" but adds that it is not necessarily a new paradigm.

"The 'green economy' or the 'blue/green economy' is a repackaging of the principles that we have known for decades that must be put into practice if we are to make sustainable development a reality".

The Green Economy discussions, including environmental conservation activities undertaken under the PIRNC strategy, continue this week in Lami, Fiji.

For more information or to set up interviews, contact:

Salote Sauturaga, Phone: +679 9769299, email: salote.sauturaga@iucn.org or visit the PIRNC website: http://www.iucn.org/about/union/secretariat/offices/oceania/roundtable/

 

 

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) T: 685 21929  F: 685 20231  W: www.sprep.org

26 July 2011

 

14th Pacific Islands Round Table for Nature Conservation

SPREP Statement delivered by

Stuart Chape, Programme Manager – Island Ecosystems

 

Salutation

·         Hon. Colonel Samuela Saumatua, Minister of Local Government, Housing, Urban Development and Environment

·         Fiji's Director of Environment – Jope Davetanivalu

·         Director of IUCN Oceania and Chair of the Round Table – Taholo Kami

·         Distinguished Government representatives

·         Heads of Partner Organizations

·         Ladies and gentlemen

Hon. Minister, thank you for the insightful, challenging and thought provoking points that you have presented in your opening remarks. You have raised some very important issues that are fundamental to the sustainability of our environment and societies. We are at a critical juncture where collectively as a region we must step back and assess how well we have managed and used our natural resources while trying to meet our every day needs and development aspirations. Recognising our strengths and achievements as well as our weaknesses and failures should help us to define a more robust and sustainable future as we plan our engagement at Rio+20 next year.

 

Reflecting on this, I would like to share these words with you:

 

"Economic development which is undertaken in accordance with ecological principles, paying due respect to the need to plan resource exploitation carefully and to limit the dispersal of wastes in the environment, is better development. In some cases, in simple economic terms, it may initially cost more. In the long term the economic, social and economic benefits will far outweigh these initial costs. Only an ecological approach to development now will enable us to hand on to future generations a carefully managed, relatively unpolluted land with adequate and comparatively natural resources."

 

These are not my words, they are a quote, not from a recent paper on the green economy but from Fiji's Development Plan 7 written 35 years ago in 1976 - 16 years before the first Rio Summit, the UN Conference on Environment and Development, in 1992. I'm sure you will agree that the statement has a global relevance made even more important by the passage of time.

Immediately following the 1992 Summit the then Prime Minister of Fiji addressed the 47th Session of the UN General Assembly, affirming Fiji's commitment to the Rio Declaration, Agenda 21, the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the CBD and the Declaration on Forest Principles.  He noted that the Summit:

 

"...was a major step forward, but the next step may be more difficult. The spirit in which the various agreements were conceived and adopted needs to be matched by their speedy implementation".

 

I am sharing these quotes with you to highlight two things: firstly, global awareness of the critical positive links between ecology and economic development is now decades old - which should be no surprise when you consider that both the words and the concepts are derived from the one ancient Greek word oikos meaning household, house or family. How appropriate!  Within the core meaning of these two words lies the very reason why, as functional concepts, they must be integrated and not polarised.

 

The second point, reflecting on the then PM's prophetic observation, is the need to take this awareness, expressed in the wide adoption of the 1992 international environment agreements,  through to full speedy implementation.  That unfortunately is where we have collectively fallen short.

 

As you have noted, Hon. Minister, while we have made significant advances here in the region in the way we value our terrestrial and marine environments and the ecological services they provide, this has not been enough. We do indeed need a different economic paradigm - but I would suggest that it is not necessarily a new paradigm. The 'green economy' or the 'blue/green economy' is a repackaging of the principles that we have known for decades that must be put into practice if we are to make sustainable development a reality.

 

However, if such repackaging can capture the imagination of decision-makers, bureaucrats and communities and move us closer to a sustainable future then it is indeed a worthwhile enterprise that must be carried forward to global implementation at the Rio+20 Summit and beyond.

 

I think we can be optimistic in the Pacific that the paradigm shift can be made - more than anything it is a question of will power: at all levels, from the highest political levels right through to communities.

 

We already have outstanding examples in the region: at the political level, the Micronesian Challenge initiated by former president Remengasau of Palau, and the establishment of the Phoenix Islands PA - currently the world's largest MPA - and the regional Oceanscape concept adopted by the PIF Leaders last year, both championed by President Anote Tong of Kiribati.

 

At the community level hundreds of conserved areas have been established, including the 120 km² Tetepare Island Conservation Area in the Solomon Islands established by the Tetepare Descendants Association, conserving the Pacific's largest uninhabited island, which is covered in high value lowland forest.

 

There are also excellent examples of private enterprise-community conservation partnerships, such as the Rivers Fiji-community partnership for protection and sustainable use of the upper Navua River Ramsar site, and the Namenalala Island conservation area in the Koro Sea protected under covenant between the Namena resort and the traditional land owners.

 

However, the level of change required to bring about the paradigm shift to a green economy  needs to be driven at the highest levels of government - providing support for the changes needed at all levels of society and the economy. Above all we need champions. I have already referred to the initiatives championed by Micronesian leaders, and I should also mention that the Cook Islands PM Hon. Henry Puna is currently exploring with his government and people the establishment of what would be the largest MPA in the world within the Cook Islands territorial waters and EEZ. With such environmental champions at the highest levels of government we can go beyond the rhetoric and make environmental sustainability a reality.

 

Finally Hon. Minister, our annual Roundtable Meeting this week will focus on the 'green economy' and its relationship to nature. Clearly it will be a discussion of the converted - no-one here needs to be convinced of the need to link ecology and economy. However, the basis of the RT is partnership, and if the 'green economy' is to succeed not only do we need champions but we need to work together. This week I am sure that we will collectively focus on the issues and approaches that can make it work.

 

SPREP in its new Strategic Plan for 2011 – 2015 is committed to work closely with its country and territory Members and partners to continue to provide quality advice on protecting and managing island ecosystems as a basis for a sustainable future, including its achievement through the 'green economy'.

 

 With those words, I wish us all a successful meeting.

 

Vinaka vaka levu

 

 

 

Nanette Woonton

Media and Public Relations Officer

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme SPREP

T: (685) 66 305

W: www.sprep.org

Bionesian Blog: www.bionesian.blogspot.com

2009 SPREP Annual Report English Link:

http://www.sprep.org/att/publication/000865_SPREP_ANNUAL_REPORT_2009.pdf

 

 

 

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