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

  • CTA
  • SPC
  • CEPaCT

     genebank locations
    Click on the thumbnail to see a map of the locations of Pacific genebanks. Click here to download a regional directory of genebanks in the Pacific, including information on their location, contact details and holdings.

    PAPGREN partners

    Mr William Wigmore
    Director of Research
    Ministry of Agriculture
    Department of Resources & Development
    P.O. Box 96
    Cook Islands
    Tel: (682) 28711-29720
    Fax: (682) 21881
    Email: cimoa@oyster.net.ck

    Mr Adelino S. Lorens
    Agriculture Pohnpei
    Office of Economic Affairs
    P.O. Box 1028
    Pohnpei 96941
    Federated States of Micronesia
    Tel: (691) 3202400
    Fax: (691) 3202127
    Email: pniagriculture@mail.fm

    Dr Lois Englberger
    Island Food Community of Pohnpei
    Research Advisor
    P.O. Box 2299
    Pohnpei 96941
    Federated States of Micronesia
    Email: nutrition@mail.fm

    Mr Apisai Ucuboi
    Director of Research
    Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forest
    Koronivia Research Station
    P.O. Box 77
    Fiji Islands
    Tel: (679) 3477044
    Fax: (679) 3477546-400262
    Email: apisainu@yahoo.com

    Dr Maurice Wong
    Service du Developpement Rural
    B.P. 100
    Tahiti 98713
    French Polynesia
    Tel: (689) 42 81 44
    Fax: (689) 42 08 31
    Email: maurice.wong@rural.gov.pf

    Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
    Head, Research Section
    Division of Agriculture
    Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development
    P.O. Box 267
    Tel: (686) 28096-28108-28080
    Fax: (686) 28121
    Email : agriculture@tskl.net.ki; Beenna_ti@yahoo.com

    Mr Frederick Muller
    Ministry of Resources & Development
    P.O. Box 1727
    Majuro 96960
    Marshall Islands
    Tel: (692) 6253206
    Fax: (692) 6257471
    Email: rndsec@ntamar.net

    Mr Herman Francisco
    Bureau of Agriculture
    Ministry of Resources & Development
    P.O. Box 460
    Koror 96940
    Tel: (680) 4881517
    Fax: (680) 4881725
    Email: bnrd@pnccwg.palaunet.com

    Ms Rosa Kambuou
    Principal Scientist PGR
    NARI Dry Lowlands Programme
    Laloki Agricultural Research Station
    P.O. Box 1828
    National Capital District
    Papua New Guinea
    Tel: (675) 3235511
    Fax: (675) 3234733
    Email: kambuou@global.net.pg

    Ms Laisene Samuelu
    Principal Crop Development Officer
    Crops Division
    Ministry of Agriculture, Forests, Fisheries & Meteorology
    P.O. Box 1874
    Tel: (685) 23416-20605
    Fax: (685) 20607-23996
    Email: lsamuelu@lesamoa.net

    Mr Jimi Saelea
    Director of Research
    Department of Agriculture and Livestock
    P.O. Box G13
    Solomon Islands
    Tel: (677) 27987

    Mr Tony Jansen
    Planting Materials Network
    Kastom Gaden Association
    Burns Creek, Honiara
    P.O. Box 742
    Solomon Islands
    Tel: (677) 39551
    Email: kastomgaden@solomon.com.sb

    Mr Finao Pole
    Head of Research
    Ministry of Agriculture & Forests
    P.O. Box 14
    Tel: (676) 23038
    Fax: (676) 24271
    Email: thaangana@hotmail.com

    Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
    Head of Research
    Department of Agriculture & Rural Development
    Private Mail Bag 040
    Port Vila
    Tel: (678) 22525
    Fax: (678) 25265
    Email: flehi@hotmail.com

    Other links

    Other CROP agencies
    Forum Secretariat
    University of the South Pacific

    Pacific biodiversity
    Biodiversity hotspots
    Breadfruit Institute
    Hawaiian native plants
    Intellectual property rights
    Nature Conservancy
    WWF South Pacific Program

    Other Pacific organizations
    Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific
    Micronesian Seminar
    Te Puna web directory

    Pacific news
    Cafe Pacific
    CocoNET Wireless
    Island Directory
    Pacific Islands News
    Pacific Islands Report
    Pacific Islands Travel
    Pacific Time
    South Pacific travel
    Time Pacific

    Interested in GIS?



    Monday, February 28, 2005

    "Sinking Island Arks"

    From the University of the South Pacific (USP).

    Dr. Randy Thaman, Professor of Pacific Islands Biogeography at USP, gave the keynote address on the opening day of the Tenth Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) held in Bangkok, Thailand, 7-11 February 2005. In his address, entitled “Sinking Island Arks - Island Biodiversity and Island Living Under Threat”, Professor Thaman provided a platform for the discussion, finalisation and acceptance of a new thematic ten-year work programme on “island biodiversity”under the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) for consideration at the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD to be held in Brazil in 2006. 188 countries are party to the CBD, which has as its central goals, the conservation, sustainable use and equitable sharing of the benefits to the Earths fragile biodiversity inheritance (ecosystems, species and genetic diversity).

    In his address, Professor Thaman stressed the uniqueness and fragility of island biodiversity (IBD) and obligate dependence that island nations and peoples have on island and associated marine biodiversity as a foundation for sustainable development. Professor Thaman said that from a strictly biodiversity conservation perspective, most of the generalizations with respect to the uniqueness and fragility of IBD are relevant for both small island developing states (SIDS), but also for larger, more developed island states and island communities. From a human or cultural perspective, the promotion of sustainable use and benefit sharing aspects of IBD have particular relevance to those small island nations and islanders who wish to, or must live on, smaller islands away from capital cities, main islands, and the mainstream of development and homogenizing forces of globalization . . . those islanders who depend most on their IBD! Professor Thaman also stressed that the new ten-year Island Biodiversity Programme of Work under the CBD provides a unique opportunity for building bridges among ALL ISLANDS AND ALL ISLAND NATIONS in efforts to conserve, sustainably use and equitably share IBD as a foundation for sustainable development.

    Professor Thaman likened islands and their surrounding nearshore marine biodiversity to self-contained, bounded “arks”, each with their own unique, often very limited, assemblage of biodiversity. These “island arks” are among the most legendary biodiversity “hot spots” on earth“ and were largely responsible for Darwin and Wallace challenging the biblical ark of Christendom and the formulation of their theory on the evolution of new life forms. Alfred Russel Wallace, the “father of island biogeography,” had suggested in his classic work, Island Life, that: “. . . it is not too much to say that when we have mastered the difficulties presented by the peculiarities of island life we shall find it comparatively easy to deal with the more complex and less clearly defined problems of continental distribution.”

    Professor Thaman suggested that, in addition to being among the Earth’s biodiversity “hot spots”, islands also include some of the Earth’s most biodiversity- poor and highly threatened biodiversity “COOL SPOTS”! He stressed that some of these “island arks” are sinking! Some have had most of their biodiversity destroyed, degraded and exported, as in the case of Nauru, in order to enrich others’ soils! Others, like Tuvalu, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and, most recently, the islands of the northern Indian Ocean, such as the Maldives and the Nicobar Islands (where over 700 indigenous coastal people died) are being swamped and ravaged by the seas around them and taking on water. Many were being invaded and swamped by alien pests, hitchhikers and stowaways (weeds, birds, snakes, land snails, ants, diseases, etc.) that are killing, or forcing overboard, many of the original, often endemic, indigenous passengers (plants and animals), which is akin to biodiversity genocide.

    Furthermore, an increasing number of “captains” and “human crews” of ancient island arks, Thaman suggested, seemed to be losing their way. Many had lost ancient navigation skills and knowledge of the bounty and fragility of their seas and island ecosystems. No longer able to maintain their arks, they no longer know, understand or care for their passengers, allowing them to be invaded, perish, thrown overboard or exported to more urbanized arks or continents . . . ., often with little knowledge and/or regard for the long-term sustainability and equitable sharing of limited supplies (resources) or maintaining intricate social (ecological) relationships.

    Our mission, in the context of the CBD, Thaman went on to suggest, is to ensure a sustainable future for “island life”. In order to do so, we must ensure that all stakeholders know what island biodiversity is, how unique, fragile and vulnerable it is compared to continental biodiversity, and why island communities and nations are so disproportionately dependent on it for their ecological, economic and cultural survival.

    Thaman quoted Director General of the UN, Kofi Annan, in an address to a special high-level meeting on Reefs, Island Communities and Protected Areas (held as a side event at the 10-year Review of the Barbados Plan of Action (BPoA) for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Mauritius this January) who said: “If at one time what happened on and beneath the seas was “out of sight, out of mind,” that can no longer be the case. Let us work together: to protect the oceans and coastal zones; to help small islands survive and prosper; and to ensure that all people enjoy a sustainable future.”

    In his presentation, accompanied by some 85 photos of islands, island environments, island biodiversity and the island people who depend on island biodiversity, Professor Thaman also stressed:

    • The need to understand island “biodiversity” and its predominant role as the foundation for all island living.
    • That there is a serious global crisis related to the loss of the Earth’s and island biodiversity.
    • That island and associated marine biodiversity are disproportionately vulnerable to this crisis.
    • That it affects all of us.

    Professor Thaman emphasized that islands offer some of the best answers to, and opportunities for, solving the global biodiversity crisis and that the conservation of island biodiversity would play a major role in helping to stabilize the Earth ecosystem, promote sustainable development and PREVENT and alleviate real poverty! He stressed in particular that small isolated offshore island in all countries offer some of the greatest opportunities for protecting plants and animals and associated human cultures that are currently under threat or disappearing on main islands and continents. This is because they often are free from invasive pests, diseases, parasites and predators, including more urbanized human communities, and often harbour some of the only remaining populations of unique and threatened organisms and relatively sef-sufficient human communities.

    On the last day of meeting the report of the Island Biodiversity Working Group and the proposed elements for the Programme of Work on “Islands Biodiversity” were unanimously approved by the Tenth Meeting of SBSTTA. The programme of work included the following goals:

    1. conservation of island biodiversity
    2. sustainable use of island biodiversity
    3. addressing the threats to island biodiversity
    4. improved access and benefit sharing in relation to island biodiversity
    5. increasing capacities and financing the implementation of the programme of work.

    Each of these goals has associated global targets and times frames and island-specific actions for the parties to the CBD.

    Other major global issues addressed by the SBSTTA working groups for approval by the meeting included:

    • facilitating the recovery of marine and coastal biodiversity from the impacts of the Indian Ocean tsunami
    • the Global Taxonomic Initiative (GTI) and the strengthening of taxonomic expertise as a means of facilitating the goal of the CBD
    • climate change and biodiversity
    • status and conservation of inland water systems and marine and coastal biodiversity
    • global targets and indicators for biodiversity conservation and their contribution to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals
    • intellectual property rights issues and the rights and knowledge of indigenous and local people with respect to biodiversity conservation, bioprospecting and the use of genetically modified organisms
    • invasive species
    • genetic use restriction technologies (GURTS) and their impact on biodiversity and local communities
    • agricultural and soil biodiversity
    • biodiversity for food, nutrition and health
    • the development of “clearing house mechanisms” to promote technical cooperation and technology transfer
    • ways of removing “perverse” incentives (e.g., international trade agreements) that negatively affect biodiversity conservation

    Professor Thaman believes that both the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to which some 16 Pacific Island countries, including all of the USP member countries, except Tokealu, are party, and the new 10-year work programme on Island Biodiversity, offer island countries, whether developing or developed countries, one of the greatest opportunities to promote a truly sustainable future for island peoples and for keeping our many island arks and their precious biological crews afloat and on course for millennia to come.

    Among the some 1000 official delegates of government and non-government at the SBSTTA Meeting were many USP graduates, including including Touea Titaake, Enate Evi, Manasa Sovaki, Russel Nari and Joe Horokou, who were the official government representatives and spokespersons of Kiribati, Tuvalu, Fiji, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. Ana Tiraa-Passfield, another USP graduate, who represented the Cook Islands si also a member of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) responsible for preparing the draft workplan on Island biodiversity. Also serving on the Island Biodiversity AHTEG is current I-Kiribati Marine Studies Programme and Geography Postgraduate student, Nenenteiti Ruatu. She is currently on study leave from her job as the Kiribati National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan coordinator.

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