A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Dr Maurice Wong
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Mr Frederick Muller
Mr Herman Francisco
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
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Monday, January 17, 2005
Posted 2:47 PM by Luigi
Islands' Fears on Climate, Trade Acknowledged
By C. Bryson Hull
PORT LOUIS (Reuters) - Small island nations won world recognition of their climate change fears on Friday but failed to persuade the international community to reinstate trade preferences to protect their fragile economies.
Calls for a global early warning system joined the islands' wish-list at a United Nations-led meeting of 37 islands, diplomats and Secretary-General Kofi Annan, after a devastating Asian tsunami killed more than 160,000 people.
Fears of submergence by rising seas and lobbying for trade preferences for fragile island economies was high on the islands' agenda.
Islands did not succeed in persuading the world to return trade preferences to them. The phase-out of trade quotas has left in dire straits undiversified island economies, already hampered by isolation and limited resources.
The strategy adopted on Friday asks islands to take a bigger role in their own development, while donors promised to provide technical assistance and recognize island vulnerability to disaster and trade globalization.
On climate change, the conference urged the international community to further cut emissions of greenhouse gases that are blamed for global warming, as the Kyoto Protocol demands.
Islands, if united, can use the strategy to push their aims at other world bodies, like the World Trade Organization, said Anwarul Chowdhury, the meeting's secretary-general.
"This agenda, to really bear fruit, needs to be pursued in other forums," said Chowdhury, also the top U.N. official for least-developed nations.
Islands worry that rising seas, which a U.N. panel of 2,000 scientists has linked to global warming caused by burned fossil fuels, could submerge them. A minority of scientists dispute the findings as based on erroneous climate models.
Tuvalu, its existence threatened by rising seas, said the strategy lacked any solid pledges to mitigate climate change.
"At least there is still room to move forward," said Enele Sopoaga, the tiny Pacific archipelago's U.N. ambassador.
Some were pleased the islands' position that climate change is happening now was acknowledged.
"Finally, all parties have agreed that climate change is having an effect on (small islands) right now and that we need to put in place policies in place to reverse this," said Gordon Bispham, director of the Barbados-based Caribbean Policy Development Center.
Annan said the islands' position carried more weight now because of an "shift of sympathy" by the international community, after seeing images of tsunami destruction.
"Even those who had been a bit skeptical about the impact of global warming cannot say that they have no idea of the damage water can do," Annan told reporters.
The strategy urges all international bodies, including financial institutions, to pay attention to island needs, but is not specific. There is no timeframe for implementation, either, delegates said. (Additional reporting by Nita Bhalla)
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