Conservation conference vital to save planet

The meeting of only six of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets makes the 10th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas from November 24-27 essential in order to save the planet.

The 10th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas is slated to be the largest virtual conference in the region.

The Apia-based Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme [S.P.R.E.P] stated the end of the month virtual conference is timely, given the progress card released last month by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity Global Biodiversity Outlook 5.

The outlook delivered a final report card on progress made against the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets which painted a dire picture of the progress thus far.

With only six of the 20 targets partially achieved by the 2020 deadline, the call for urgent conservation action by all countries is needed in order to save the planet.

SPREP Island and Ocean Ecosystem Programme Director, Stuart Chape, said the high-level segment will be an opportunity for Pacific leaders and heads of key organisations to push for greater conservation action in island nations and commit to stronger regional collaboration.

“This also provides another opportunity to guide the Pacific’s input to the development of the CBD Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and the creation of a new set of global biodiversity targets for 2021-2030,” he said.

The high-level segment is an opportunity for Pacific islands, partner countries and members to commit to regional priorities and support a post-engagement strategy; the first step of which is to raise the Pacific voice at the 15th Conference of Parties to the CBD to be held in Kunming, China in 2021.

The main deliverables of the high-level segment will include the adoption of the Vemööre Declaration, which underlines the urgent need to continue national efforts to protect biodiversity in the Pacific, and to strengthen public policies and civil society actions.

According to the statement, the word Vemööre is the Kwényï language from the Isle of Pines in New Caledonia and refers to make something viable, highlighting the commitment and responsibility of every individual to implement the principles of life, to preserve balance, build alliances, to respect the word between people but also between the spirits of our environment and resilience.

The high-level segment will support the overall objectives of the conference to influence  the post-2020 framework, but it will also guide innovative conservation action at national and regional levels and help to secure sustainable funding for nature conservation in Oceania.

Pacific island Ministers and other S.P.R.E.P Member country representatives from Australia, France, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the U.S. along with heads of organisations of the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation have been invited to participate in the high-level event.

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