Partnerships and dialogue for concrete action on conservation: the Pacific Islands Roundtable on Nature Conservation.

Lively discussions took place during a side event held today at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, currently underway in Honolulu, Hawaii. The side event featured the work of the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation (PIRT), a partnership and coalition of conservation bodies aimed at improving collaboration and coordination on nature conservation at the local, national, regional and international level.

20160903 142847Mr. Taholo Kami, PIRT Chair and Director of the IUCN Oceania Office, speaks to the participants of the PIRT side event. Photo: SPREP

The side event opened with some food for thought from the chair of the PIRT and Director of the IUCN Oceania office, Mr. Taholo Kami, "how can we do things better? And how can the PIRT as a unique, long term partnership better address the issues of our region?" Mr. Kami further mentioned that ocean issues were trending at the moment and that the Pacific region has been at the forefront of making significant declarations on marine protected areas. In light of this, he pointed out that we need to inspire similar action and commitments in other parts of the globe. On mainstreaming, he mentioned that in hindsight, we haven't done as well as we could have and that upscaling of efforts and initiatives remains a challenge.

The Director General of SPREP, Mr. Leota Kosi Latu also provided a perspective to kick off the session. "The Roundtable is based on solid relationships and it continues to grow.... We need to see how we can bring in other sectors that have bearing on the work of the Roundtable, such as the tourism sector" Furthermore, he mentioned that mainstreaming nature conservation into national planning and budgeting processes is a priority that needs to be reinforced and that this relies very much on government commitment.

20160903 143730Mr. Kosi Latu, Director General of SPREP. Photo: SPREP

A panel of speakers from both IUCN and SPREP presented on the PIRT working groups and their work across protected areas, invasive species and environmental law.

In the true spirit of the Pacific way, discussions of the side event were held 'talanoa' style complete with the tanoa (bowl) of Kava.

Issued raised by participants were not new issues, including poaching of customary fishing grounds, the linkage between nature conservation and well-being and contribution to mainstreaming, community ownership and priorities among others.

20160903 145447David Moverley, SPREP's Invasive Species Adviser. Photo: SPREP

The World Conservation Congress will wrap up on 10 September.
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