The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.) celebrated International Day for Biological Diversity yesterday.
Held in front of the T.A.T.T.E. Building Associate Minister of M.N.R.E. Taefu Lemi Taefu, said biodiversity is important to the Samoan people because it is the ecological foundation upon which Samoa exists culturally, socially and economically.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Biodiversity: Actions for Sustainable Development” and it also marks 25 years since the signing of the Convention on Biological Diversity (C.B.D.) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 1992."
“The importance of Samoa’s biodiversity to the well-being of its people cannot be overemphasized,” Taefu said.
“Samoa’s contribution to achieving its national targets to the C.B.D. and related international agreements has been enormous. Some of these achievements are key milestones for Samoa over the past 25 years and they include the following:
1. We have exceeded our national target of 17 percent protected terrestrial areas;
2. We have the Samoa’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2015-2020;
3. Samoa’s Roadmap for Protected Areas 2016-2020;
4. We have ratified the Nagoya Protocol C.B.D. related;
5. We have established two main Marine Protected Areas at Safata and Aleipata;
6. We completed two national keys for Biodiversity Areas Rapid Assessment Surveys (B.I.O.R.A.P.);
7. Our ongoing effort to conserve and protect our Critically Endangered Manumea Bird;
8. We have a declaration of our Exclusive Economic Zone (E.E.Z.) as sanctuary for sharks, rays and turtles;
9. There are plans to ban the use of plastic bags, effective in 2019;
10. We have a holistic approach where other sectors like the Agricultural sector where Sustainable Agriculture and Biodiversity conservation are promoted by the Agriculture Sector Plan 2016-2020;
11. We have the support of the community and our stakeholders many of whom are here with us today, to work on conservation as part of the National Environment Sector Plan 2017-2020; and
12. The launching today (yesterday) of some of the biodiversity related products and publications; including the first National Report on Minemata Initial Assessment on Mercury."
“The above are just some of the milestone achievements by Samoa over the past 25 years of the Convention on Biological Diversity."
“The threat to our biodiversity will continue to be a major challenge to sustainable development going forward. However, the collective efforts of the 196 state parties will hopefully produce sustainable solutions for the protection and conservation of our biodiversity,” Taefu said.
He also added that Government cannot do it alone. They need the support of all, and he acknowledges the continued support of development partners.
“In addition, I would like to acknowledge the hard work and the technical support from our regional partners and organizations as well as the never ending support of our community and our stakeholders."
“I urge you all to play your part in our collective responsibility to protect and conserve our biodiversity, our environment, our heritage,” Taefu said.