Fiji on target to meeting global Aichi Targets on Biodiversity

6 December 2016, CBD COP13, Cancun Mexico - In 2005, Fiji declared to protect 30 per cent of its seas by 2020, in working towards this the island nation will achieve both Aichi Target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Fiji National Green Growth Framework. Aichi Target 11 on Protected Areas commits Fiji to conserve at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and ten per cent of coastal and marine areas by the year 2020.

Fiji took center stage at the Thirteenth Conference of the Parties at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP13), under the spotlight at a special Pacific island side event, titled: "Our Pacific Voyage: Navigating our way towards implementation of the Aichi Targets". It was here that Fiji reported that they are on their way to achieving most of the 20 Aichi Targets, including Target 11. However, more still needs to be done over the next four years.

While the Fiji management of i qoliqoli, the traditional fishing grounds which are locally managed, has expanded with 78.2% of Fiji's i qoliqoli now managed, covering 1.8% of Fiji's Exclusive Economic Zone.

IMG 9323Mr Raul Chand, Fiji 

"Because these areas collectively only covers this within its EEZ, Fiji cannot meet this commitment by focusing only on inshore areas," said Mr Raul Chand, Head of Delegation for Fiji at the CBD COP13.

"The greatest opportunity would require significant expansion and commitment in Marine Managed Areas, requiring an additional coverage of 28.2%, or 366,604 km2, over offshore waters within Fiji's EEZ."

Fiji also shared its progress against all 20 Aichi Targets – many of which have been made possible with national projects that have helped leverage finance and established a strong foundation for success by the deadline of 2020.

"Fiji has always been ambitious when it comes to managing our natural resources and protecting our environment and we have many projects to help us. We were one of the first countries in the world, and the only Pacific island funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to undertake the BIOFIN process," said Mr Chand.

"This will help us to develop a resource mobilisation plan to help implement our National Biodiversity and Strategic Action Plan."

The Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) develops and pilots a new approach and methodology for leveraging increased biodiversity investments. Other projects include the Ridge to Reef Project with the Global Environment Facility, the Agence Francaise Developpement RESCCUE Project which aims at establishing innovative financial mechanisms for integrated coastal zone management as well as the MACBIO Project – Marine and Coastal Biodiversity Management in Pacific island countries. MACBIO is a project commissioned by BMUB to GIZ and jointly implemented by SPREP, IUCN and GIZ from 2013 to 2018.

"We are on track, we have a few more years to complete all the Aichi Targets and this is an important priority for us as Fiji consists of fragile island ecosystems where biodiversity resources and ecosystem goods and services play important roles in sustaining the life and economic well-being of Fiji," said Mr Chand.

The Pacific side event was held on Monday 5 December for which other presenters represented the European commission, as well as the Governments of Samoa, Fiji, Australia, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

The CBD COP13 is held in Cancun, Mexico from 4 to 17 November, 2015. Pacific island parties to the CBD are the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. - #PacificProtectedAreas

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