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
Interested in GIS?
Monday, May 08, 2006
Posted 3:33 PM by Luigi
SPREP and the Island Biodiversity Programme of Work
From Island Business.
A team of specialists from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) has strongly supported the cause of Pacific Islands nations at the important 8th Conference of Parties (COP8) on the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) in Brazil. They were among 4000 delegates from over 150 countries who came together to discuss the need to protect the Earth’s collective range of microbial, plant and animal species - commonly known as biodiversity. Important policy initiatives have been taken with far-reaching consequences for governments, businesses and communities in the Pacific Region.
Asterio Takesy, the Director of SPREP, led the delegation of four and is buoyant about the outcome of the conference. Many months of preparation have paid off (earlier references to this have been made in the February and March issues of ISLANDS BUSINESS). SPREP’s main role in this was to support its Pacific countries members who are States Parties to the Convention, and whose role it was to plead the Pacific cause.The key outcome of COP8 for the Pacific was the adoption of the Island Biodiversity Programme of Work (IBPOW). As discussed in a previous ISLANDS BUSINESS issue, this programme recognises that all islands, and small islands developing states in particular, are special because they:
In addition, an island biodiversity community network was established; the conference showcased leadership in conservation of island biodiversity by Pacific Islands Countries; the importance of marine biodiversity was highlighted; and new conservation concepts were discussed.
The conference also provided an opportunity for delivering “Postcards from the Future” to high-level decision-makers. These innovative postcards carried messages from Pacific youths to indicate what kind of future they wanted in their region—an important means of community involvement, Takesy said. Dominique Benzaken, SPREP’s Coastal Management Adviser, said the protection of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdictions (in “the high seas”) had been hotly debated at the conference. Deep seabed environments contain many unique species that are very vulnerable to overexploitation, particularly bottom trawling. Protecting them is a high priority for the United Nations and important to our region, Benzaken said, because of the impact of high seas on countries’ adjacent exclusive economic zones.
Also of great significance was the announcement of the new Marine Protected Areas in the Pacific. Palau had already presented their Micronesian Challenge to conserve 30 percent of their nearshore marine resources and 20 percent of their forest resources by 2020. At the conference, Kiribati rose to the challenge by announcing the establishment of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, now the third largest marine protected area in the world. This will conserve an archipelago of some of the Earth’s most pristine coral reefs and set a great example for others to follow, Benzaken said.
Clark Peteru, SPREP’s Environmental Legal Advisor, highlighted an important new concept discussed at the conference: that of “Payment for Environmental Service”. What it means is that resource owners or custodians are compensated for keeping environments such as forests and coral reefs in a viable condition, particularly where there are global benefits. This, of course, would make it more attractive to conserve forests and seas in the long term, while still obtaining financial benefits in the short-term, such as payments from logging or fishing licences. This would probably push the price of such licences up because of more realistic valuing of natural resources—but it should result in the reduction of reckless exploitation of pristine areas.
Funding for this mechanism would come from the Global Environment Fund, which has a contributor in the United States. Hence, the presence of an American delegation, even though the United States is not a party to the Convention for Biological Diversity. Much legal work is to be completed to bring the conference’s proposals to fruition, Peteru said, and this would go on in working groups now that the main meeting was over.
Kate Brown-Vitolio, SPREP’s Action Strategy Adviser, was excited about the outcome of a side event to the conference. Hosted by SPREP, it was aimed at networking established practitioners who are working “on the ground” in conservation. This brought together many strands of what biodiversity conservation means for us as Pacific islanders. Some critical factors identified were: direct stakeholder involvement; funding mechanisms; the importance of traditional social and economical knowledge, and of leaders who possess that knowledge.
One of these leaders is Ratu Aisea Katonivere, chief of the Macuata community in Fiji, home to 100,000 people and the world’s third largest barrier reef. His presence at the Convention for Biological Diversity conference, funded by SPREP, brought the following key message:“For the islands, this is a new dimension on how to preserve our fragile resources for future generations. Our traditional way of conserving has been reawakened through this global concern to protect our fragile resources,” Katonivere said. “For us, in Fiji, this is about our survival. Our life.”
And, of course, Katonivere spoke for all Pacific Islanders at this international platform, Brown-Vitolio said. She too, was excited about the acceptance of the Islands Programme of Work and positioning SPREP for the work that lies ahead. While the conference of parties is over, the implementation of agreed initiatives can now begin.
* Comments:Post a Comment
Agrobiodiversity Weblog: For discussions of conservation and sustainable use of the genetic resources of crops, livestock and their wild relatives.