Story and photo: From S.P.R.E.P.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.) has dedicated 2018 and 2019 to a Pacific Year of the Coral Reef (P.Y.O.C.R.) campaign to promote conservation of our coral reefs.
It has been ten years since the last regional and international campaigns for coral reefs, and the launch of this campaign will see close collaboration with the 3rd International Year of the Reef campaign, which is also being implemented in 2018 by the International Coral Reef Initiative and its members.
“With the recent years of more frequent and widespread coral bleaching due to increased sea temperatures, and ongoing damage to coral reefs from local human pressures, we need to revitalise global, regional land local action to conserve these precious ecosystems”, said Director General of S.P.R.E.P, Leota Kosi Latu, when he launched the campaign during the Protected Areas Meeting held in Apia.
“Coral reefs are critical foundations of our Pacific islands and livelihoods. Coral reefs have provided much of the food that we and generations past have relied on, and they protect our shores and homes from the severe energy of ocean waves and swells.
“We need to strengthen our region, by working together as a collective and provide greater access to information and data on coral reefs.”
With coral reefs as the thematic focus of the next two years, the P.Y.O.C.R. campaign will bring together the efforts of SPREP’s four key technical programmes.
S.P.R.E.P. will also promote and support the efforts of its Member countries in protecting their reefs and island livelihoods, and will help direct the resources and expertise of regional and international organisations to assist Pacific island countries.
The strategic campaign is geared to develop a foundation and legacy for ongoing action on coral reefs that we hope will continue well beyond 2018 and 2019.
Elizabeth Munro, Senior Biodiversity Officer of the Cook Islands National Environment Service (Tu’anga Taporoporo) was a guest speaker at the launch and gave insights into the Cook Islands coral reefs conservation and management perspective.