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, November 24, 2008

    Innovate to accumulate

    From : SciDev

    Leaders in Africa and other developing countries have a wealth of scientific know-how at their disposal compared to their predecessors. The challenge is adapting that knowledge to local markets, writes Calestous Juma.

    Juma calls for a "new species of university" that produces entrepreneurs who can "transform ideas into business proposals and actual products and services".

    Universities can encourage development by focusing aspects of technical training on specific development needs — for example, Ghana's University of Development Studies offers training to advance its home community's welfare.

    Universities could also tap into their expatriates' expertise, although many are hindered by their digital isolation from the rest of the world.

    The next step, Juma says, is to translate knowledge into enterprise and find an international market for the resulting goods. Previously this has been hampered by high export tariffs, which have discouraged investment in innovation.

    Linking higher education systems to local communities, and establishing a private sector that taps into regional or international markets provides the tools for long-term economic growth, Juma says.

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    Sunday, November 23, 2008

    Scientists find 'biofuel-making' fungus
    Paula Leighton

    From : SciDev.Net

    13 November 2008

    SANTIAGO] A fungus found in a Patagonian rainforest could provide an alternative source of biofuel, according to new research.

    The fungus, Gliocladium roseum, grows in the ulmo tree (Eucryphia cordifolia), a species native to the Patagonia — the southern territories of Argentina and Chile.

    Researchers, whose work is published in Microbiology this month, found that G. roseum possesses the metabolic machinery to produce a wide variety of hydrocarbons virtually identical to the compounds in diesel obtained from crude oil.

    Because of this property, the volatile gases produced by the fungus have been dubbed 'myco-diesel'.

    "Many fungi make ethanol, but none to date produce this kind of mixture of diesel hydrocarbons," lead author Gary Strobel, professor of plant sciences and plant pathology at the US-based Montana State University (MSU), told SciDev.Net.

    A promising aspect of this discovery is that G. roseum produces myco-diesel directly from cellulose-rich products, skipping the fermentation step needed to produce ethanol, he says.

    "Cellulose is the most abundant organic substance on the planet and it mostly exists as waste material — straw, chaff, leaves, cuttings, etc.," says Strobel.

    Considering the dramatic increase in global food prices, the paper states: "It is both timely and interesting that G. roseum can utilise cellulose for the production of hydrocarbons given the enormous volumes of foodstuff grains currently being utilised for alcohol (fuel) production."

    Strobel does not know when the myco-fuel will be commercially available, since there are many steps to go through before producing the diesel on an industrial scale, including decoding the genetic makeup of G. roseum to identify the genes responsible for its diesel-making properties.

    "The main value of this discovery may not be the organism itself, but the genes responsible for the production of these gases," says Strobel.

    The scientists found that G. roseum makes less myco-diesel when it feeds on cellulose compared to sugars, but new developments in fermentation technology and genetic manipulation could help improve the yield, they say.

    Researchers in government agencies and private industry have already shown interest in the fungus, and further research will be carried out along with MSU's College of Engineering and a team from Yale University.

    Link to full paper [172kB]

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    Time to count the burden of foodborne disease

    Arie Havelaar

    From : SciDev.Net

    Many people suffer or die from foodborne disease each year — but how many? Arie Havelaar believes a WHO initiative will find out.

    Foodborne disease outbreaks make the news daily. We can assume that billions of people fall ill every year, and that many die, because they ate food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemicals. But no-one has ever quantified the problem comprehensively. Indeed, we have only a sketchy idea of how many people suffer from foodborne diseases every year, or the economic damage they cause.

    The recent reports of melamine-contaminated milk powder in China remind us that foodborne illnesses can hit at any time and anywhere. Over 50,000 children in China suffered kidney problems and four died from drinking the contaminated milk powder, which was also exported to dozens of countries. There is no telling how many more victims we will see over the coming months.

    Wide spectrum

    We usually associate foodborne diseases with diarrhoea or vomiting, but they cause hundreds of illnesses. Their wide spectrum encompasses well-publicised ones, such as salmonellosis, avian flu and variant Creutzfeld-Jacob-Disease, but also less well-known ones, such as contamination by aflatoxin in peanuts, pistachios and other nuts as well as milk or methylmercury in fish, which can cause neuro-developmental disorders.

    The real tragedy of these diseases is played out in developing countries, where people are more exposed to hazardous environments, poor food production processes and handling, inadequate food storage and hygiene during food preparation, and poor regulatory standards.

    The tropical climate of many developing countries also helps pests and naturally occurring toxins proliferate, and people in these regions are at higher risk of contracting parasitic diseases. When people are malnourished, or living with HIV/AIDS, their immune systems are less able to fight foodborne diseases. And in severe famines, there is also an understandable reluctance to discard contaminated or spoilt food.

    Every year, over 2 million children die from diarrhoeal diseases, a considerable proportion of which probably came from food. But the real death toll from across the spectrum of foodborne disease, is likely to be much higher.

    Economic impacts

    Beyond these health impacts, foodborne diseases also affect economic development, and particularly challenge agricultural, food and tourist industries.

    Developing countries' access to food export markets depends on their ability to meet the World Trade Organization's regulatory requirements. Unsafe exports can cause severe economic losses. For example, in early 2008, Saudi Arabia refused Indian poultry products valued at nearly US$500,000 following a bird flu outbreak in West Bengal.

    Developing countries need to make significant investments in food safety prevention and control efforts, and the international community also needs to help.

    A first step must be accurately assessing the number of people affected world-wide. But given the complexity and variety of diseases transmitted through food, and the paucity of data available at a country level, no public health agency has so far dared to tackle this herculean task.

    While some international efforts are underway to estimate the burden of specific foodborne illnesses, such as the International Collaboration on Enteric Burden of Illness Studies, the complete picture of all relevant diseases remains unfinished.

    In 2007, the WHO launched an international initiative to fill in the gaps. The WHO Initiative to Estimate the Global Burden of Foodborne Diseases aims to quantify how many people die from or are affected by all major foodborne causes each year. It hopes to report by 2011. The initiative operates through an expert group, the Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (FERG), that includes scientists from all regions of the world and all areas of food safety, as well as professionals from policy and regulatory bodies.

    Global atlas of disease

    FERG plans to collect and summarise existing scientific data on foodborne disease and mortality into a global atlas. It will also train people from developing countries and help them conduct their own national studies to estimate and monitor the burden of disease from unsafe food.

    The group invites stakeholders from governmental and non-governmental organisations, industry, consumer groups, donors and scientific media to get involved, open new communication channels and explore how the initiative can best achieve its aims.

    The WHO will welcome involvement in this effort to count the millions affected by these entirely preventable diseases. Could you help provide the much-needed epidemiological yard-stick of death and disability against which progress can be measured?

    The next FERG stakeholder meeting is scheduled for 20 November, in Geneva, Switzerland. If you are a professional working with development issues, you should have it in your calendar.

    Arie Havelaar is chair of the WHO's Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group.

    For further information on the FERG stakeholder meeting please email kuchenmullert@who.int. For further information on the entire Initiative, please email foodsafety@who.int

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    Friday, November 14, 2008

    Pacific Island Countries urged to join global legal action against climate change

    By Matelita Ragogo

    Pacific Island nations, particularly its youth, have been urged to join a global legal action on climate change by a renowned environment lawyer whose passion led him to be a founding member of a group initiating this global legal action, Antonio Aposa.

    “I think it is vital that small island states on your region actively participate,” Aposa said after a United Nations Environment Programme-organised media workshop in Bangkok.

    The action which is emphasizing the participation of the people below 35 years, as recipients of whatever state of the world actions today will bequeath them, will be primarily based on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

    Apart from aiming to make countries honour their commitments to the Framework and actually development regional and national legislations (if they haven’t), the legal team intends to base their claim on provisions of the UN Framework and compliment it by legislations available at national-level and/or regional commitment made by collectives of heads of states, such as the Forum Leaders.

    On September 24, 2007, Professors Durwood Zaelke, Nick Robinson, Richard Ottinger, Daniel Estrin, and Antonio Aposa were joined by a group of environmental law students from the Pace Law School (NY) to plot out the initial strategy.

    “In my opinion, the participation of small islands, especially when one considers that they are already living the tragedies of rising sea-levels, will be a significant addition to this global action,” Aposa told Pacnews.

    “In fact, if there are islands in the Pacific or say Mauritius which want to be principal partners in the action, they would be most welcome to join us.”

    During his presentation to environment journalists at the workshop, Aposa expressed deep disappointment over those who promote logging (unsustainably in most cases) labeling it as ‘income’ or a gross national product. He lamented the near-total collapse of fisheries but its continuous exploitation for ‘revenue. Aposa questioned the logic of developments which were labeled ‘progress’ albeit systematically destroying the various basis of life – our environment.

    Attitudes could perhaps change if people did see the environment through different lenses: that if the earth was a living unit, its vital organs would be trees and forests as its lungs; the land and soil its skin and flesh and its seas and waterways as the earth’s blood and bloodstreams. Like the human body, the earth was also 70 percent water.

    Journalists were reminded of their responsibility as the Fourth Estate on how a vigorous movement of environmental journalism could, if for nothing else, at least inform members of the public of the large-scale environment degradation we are all part of and our responsibility towards the preservation of the planet.

    Pacific journalists and populations should never be hoodwinked by arguments that practices in faraway countries would not affect their lives.

    A bonus of course would be agitation by people that can influence or urge their policy-makers to promote environment-friendly and/or sustainable development practices. And if politicians grew backbones and have the political will to place health and livelihood issues before economic gains, the Pacific could then perhaps convince its Western counterparts than they were serious about environment preservation.

    Available statistics estimate that we need nine earths to satisfy our current consumption trends. While it may be too late for some, whatever action – from personal decisions to use energy-saving bulbs to national preference for wind energy sources – it is still better than nothing at all.

    Aposa spoke of a “crisis of paralysis and inaction”. He lamented the lack of pro-active leaders, labeling the current lot “useless and irrelevant and cannot provide solutions”.

    “We cannot solve problems using the same mindset that created them in the first place,” he argued.

    “We need to shift mindset from the economics of consumption to the economics of conservation, protection and restoration – natural capitalism; green or eco-economics; sustainable economics. It is, simply-put, about proper accounting.

    “And when the young speak in union, the adults listen,” he said…….PNS (ENDS)

    For background:
    For more information on or to sign on as part of the global legal action, please go to http://www.thelawofnature.org/index.html
    The Convention and the Protocol: Over a decade ago, most countries joined an international treaty -- the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) -- to begin to consider what can be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases are inevitable. More recently, a number of nations approved an addition to the treaty: the Kyoto Protocol, which has more powerful (and legally binding) measures. The UNFCCC secretariat supports all institutions involved in the climate change process, particularly the COP, the subsidiary bodies and their Bureau.

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    Thursday, November 13, 2008

    Seed Hunter : see on ABC TV1

    8:30pm Tuesday, 21 Oct 2008

    Documentary CC PG

    From : Gene Ethics

    Seed Hunter is a one-hour documentary, as part of the ABC's Future Makers series, about the hunt for seeds that may help save the world from its greatest ever crisis - a global food shortage brought about by human-induced climate change.

    As Australia and much of the world wrestles with hotter weather and a dwindling water supply, mass starvation on a global scale is on the cards if we can't find ways to improve crop resilience. Scientists are exploring many solutions to adapt our food supply, including going back to Mother Nature herself to locate the genes that can withstand our changing climate; genes that, thanks to a high-yielding monoculture, have almost disappeared.

    Australian scientist Dr Ken Street, aka the 'Seed Hunter', spends his life searching for the tiny seeds that could play a role in helping food producers around the world. This film follows Dr Ken, the 'Indiana Jones' of agriculture, on a journey from the drought-ravaged farms of Australia, to the heart of the Middle East, to the mountains of Tajikistan as he hunts for elusive wild chickpea that can survive temperatures of 40 degrees above and below zero.

    Sounds simple enough until you realise that land clearing, urbanisation and modern farming systems have all but wiped out these ancient food sources. The rare wild chickpea's tough, resilient genes could help transform the modern chickpea variety, enabling it to be grown by more people.
    At journey's end, Ken travels deep into the Arctic to deliver his precious bounty of seed to the impenetrable 'doomsday vault', built as a back-up for the world's seed supply of every food type known to humankind.

    This email and any files transmitted with it may be confidential and legally privileged. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you must not disclose or use the information contained in it. If you have received this email in error, please notify us by return email and permanently delete the document.

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    Horticulture programme outlay may go up

    From : The Hindu

    Special Correspondent

    TIRUCHI: The National Horticulture Mission has had a good impact and the allocation for the programme is likely to be increased to about Rs.3,000 crore during the XI Plan, said H.P.Singh, Deputy Director General (Horticulture), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

    Though there may be a few minor shortcomings, the mission has been well executed.

    The accent has been on using technology for promoting horticulture crops, he said speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the sixth steering committee meeting of Banana Asia Specific Network (BAPNET) hosted by the ICAR and Bioversity International here on Wednesday.

    Dr.Singh also disclosed that the allocation of the National Research Centre on Banana (NRCB) in Tiruchi is likely to be more than doubled during the XI Plan.

    It was likely to touch about Rs.15 crore and most of the additional allocation would be spent on improving the infrastructure of the centre.

    Potato genomics

    Explaining some of the latest research projects taken up by ICAR, Dr.Singh said India was part of an international research initiative on the genomics of potato and ICAR would be contributing about Rs.29 crore for the project. The project aims at gene mapping of potato. A research project on virus attacks on diverse crops is likely to be sanctioned soon at a cost of Rs.40 crore.

    Earlier, speaking at the inauguration of the BAPNET meet, Dr.Singh called for trans-border collaborative research to tackle challenges in growing banana and the diseases that were spreading across the borders. Climate change posed an important challenge as the associated temperature rise and change in rainfall pattern could have an impact on horticulture crops, especially banana. The gene revolution was throwing many solutions but effective partnerships were needed to tackle the challenges.

    Agustin B.Molina, Regional Coordinator for Asia and Pacific, Bioversity International and Executive Secretary, BAPNET, said the dreaded and virulent tropical race 4 of panama wilt, a major production threat to Cavendish and other varieties of banana, was spreading in Asia and posing a threat.

    It was essential to check the spread of the disease in China and the Philippines, two major Cavendish-producing countries, and its spread to other countries. Nicolas Roux, Project Coordinator, Bioversity International, emphasised on the importance of conserving and using genetic diversity in banana, especially in Asia and the Pacific.

    M.M.Mustafa, Director, NRCB, and P.Sundararaju of NRCB, spoke.

    Awards given

    Four scientists including Dr.Mustafa, S.Uma, Senior Scientist, NRCB, Nik Maskek, Senior Researcher, Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute, and Rosa N.Kambuou, Principal Scientist, National Agricultural Research Institute, Papua New Guinea, were conferred the Pisang Raja awards.

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    Wednesday, November 12, 2008

    Weighing in on biofuels: alternative fuel source, or threat to food security?

    From : SPC

    The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), will be hosting a regional biofuels workshop at Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi, Fiji, from 17–20 November 2008, to address the potential risks and opportunities provided by bioenergy production in the region

    The Pacific Islands region is a potential area for biofuel production for transport and electricity generation. However, Pacific Island countries will need to strike the right balance between food and energy security, and ensuring sustainable livelihoods during the associated transformation of their energy and agricultural sectors.

    The development of biofuels may potentially help Pacific Island countries cope with rising oil prices, reduce countries’ dependency on fossil fuels, provide sources of energy for rural electrification for outer island communities, and provide new sources of income to farmers. However, these potentials have to be explored fully and carefully.

    However, biofuels could negatively impact food security and rural livelihoods in the Pacific. The evidence from biofuel development overseas is that producing price competitive biofuels depends upon plantations, rather than small holder farms. This can impact upon land tenure. In addition there is a risk that the use of foodstuffs, such as cassava, can either drive down the price farmers receive or divert a large proportion of staple production from food to fuel.

    “Biofuels present the Pacific with a great opportunity to improve its energy security, by reducing dependence upon imported fuel,” says Tim Martyn of the Secretariat for the Pacific Community. “However achieving greater energy independence will require careful planning to strike a balance between the interests of farmers and consumers.”

    This workshop will attempt to provide answers to these questions by:
    • Evaluating the potential impacts of biofuels development on sustainable livelihoods and food security in the Pacific.
    • Develop an understanding of the socioeconomic opportunities and threats presented by biofuels development and associated value-added products in the Pacific.
    • Identify specific ways in which biofuels can contribute to increased energy security and improved income generating opportunities for Pacific Island communities.
    • Promote policy dialogue on the impact of biofuels on both rural and urban income poverty.

    For more information, please contact LRD helpdesk: lrdhelpdesk@spc.int, or Tim Martyn on (679) 9084974.

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    Ban on mangrove cutting imposed
    Thursday, November 13, 2008

    From : Fiji Times

    A BAN on the cutting of mangrove for commercial purposes has been placed on the delta province.

    Rewa Provincial Council vice chairman Pita Tagicakiverata said the province was told by the Department of Fisheries and Forestry about the importance of the mangrove swamps and trees to the food chain and sustenance of marine life.

    The province has found out that some people have been cutting the mangroves for commercial use.

    "There has been a lot of unnecessary cutting of our mangroves and it is affecting fish and marine life that depend on it for food.

    "So we have decided to place a ban on mangrove cutting in all villages in the province until such time the council decides to lift the ban." said Mr Tagicakiverata.

    He emphasised that villagers were only allowed to cut mangroves for home use such as firewood and to build a house.

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    Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    Five nations under threat from climate change

    via Short Sharp Science by Catherine Brahic on 11/10/08

    The first line of coconut trees has disappeared" - Kiribati inhabitant

    While the world dithers about tackling climate change, in some parts of the world people are running out of time. In Florida sea level rises can be worked around to some extent - condos can be put on stilts and moved away from the shoreline. But on some islands you can only move back so far before you have to start worrying about the water at your back door as well as the water in front.

    Here are five islands whose inhabitants are going to need a new home soon:

    1. The Guardian reports today that the new president of the Maldives will be putting part of the country's profits from tourism into a very special - and unusual - fund: one that will be used to buy a new, climate-change-friendly home. With its highest point reaching only 2.4 metres, the Maldives is one of the lowest-lying nations in the world and risks being submerged by rising sea-levels.

    2. Tuvalu is another small pacific island state, and after the Maldives the second-lowest nation in the world. At its highest, it is 5 metres above sea-level and could be gone by the middle of this century. In 2002, the government was said to have hired two international law firms to look into suing polluting nations for effectively evicting its citizens.

    3. Kiribati is a group of 32 atols and one island that peaks at 6.5 metres above sea-level. The World Bank has been involved in assessing the nation's vulnerability to climate change. I attended a talk by one of the project leaders some years ago in Paris. She quoted a few of the changes which the islanders were noticing. The one that has always stuck with me was "the first line of coconut trees has disappeared". Salt-intrusion was killing off the trees that were closest to the water.

    4. The inhabitants of the Carteret Islands of Papua New Guinea may be among the first climate refugees - their home lies just 1.2 metres above the waves. The government of Papua New Guinea adopted a plan in 2005 to evacuate the locals to the neighbouring island of Bougainville. The relocation was initially scheduled for 2007, then delayed. According to this report, there was a trial earlier this year, which created some tension as relocated citizens were used as labourers in coconut plantations on Bougainville.

    5. In 1995, 500,000 inhabitants on Bangladesh's Bhola Island were forced to move in when half their island was permanently flooded. Some claim they were the first climate refugees. Scientists predict that 20 million Bangladeshis could suffer the same fate by 2030.

    Catherine Brahic, environment reporter

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    The economics of ecosystems and biodiversity. An interim report

    From : Eldis

    Produced by: European Commission Directorate-General Joint Research Centre Institute for Environment and Sustainability (2008)

    This document aims to promote a better understanding of the true economic value of ecosystem services and to offer economic tools that take proper account of this value. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) is split in two phases and this interim report summarises the results of Phase I. It demonstrates the huge significance of ecosystems and biodiversity and the threats to human welfare if no action is taken to reverse current damage and losses. Phase II will expand on this and show how to use this knowledge to design the right tools and policies.

    It is highlighted that nature provides human society with a diversity of benefits such as food, fibres, clean water, carbon capture and many more. Though well-being is totally dependent upon the continued flow of these "ecosystem services", they are predominantly public goods with no markets and no prices, so they are rarely detected by the current economic compass. As a result, biodiversity is declining, ecosystems are being continuously degraded and we, in turn, are suffering the consequences. However, society's defective economic compass can be repaired with appropriate economics applied to the right information. This will allow existing policies to be improved, new policies to be formed, and new markets to be created, all of which is needed to enhance human well-being and restore the planet's health.

    Key points include that:
    • subsidies exist across the globe and across the economy. They affect everyone and many impact the health of the planet's ecosystems. Harmful subsidies must be reformed to halt biodiversity loss and achieve appropriate stewardship of the planet's resources
    • payments for ecosystem services (PES) can create demand for a necessary market force to correct an existing imbalance
    • new markets are already forming which support and reward biodiversity and ecosystem services. Some of them have the potential to scale up; but to be successful, markets need appropriate institutional infrastructure, incentives, financing and governance - in short, investment
    • it is very important that the development of ecosystem/biodiversity accounting in physical and monetary terms is promoted as a key early priority of the ongoing System of Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA) revision, building on the work of EEA and others.

    Available online at: http://www.eldis.org/cf/rdr/?doc=40472&em=061108&sub=enviro

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    Conservation Society Of Pohnpei Receives International Award

    From : Pacific Magazine

    Conservation Society of Pohnpei (CSP) has received the prestigious Equator Prize at the World Conservation Congress in Barcelona.

    The Equator Initiative, a United Nations-led partnership that supports grassroots efforts in biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation, selected CSP as one of only 25 winners of the 2008 Equator Prize from a field of 310 highly competitive nominations from around the world.

    “The Conservancy is thrilled that the Equator Initiative has recognized the tremendous achievements of CSP,” said Bill Raynor, director of The Nature Conservancy’s program in Micronesia. “This award signals that CSP is not only doing a great job of conserving the natural heritage of Pohnpei – it can also serve as a model for other groups around the world.”

    The Nature Conservancy helped launch CSP in 1997 with a start up challenge grant and has since worked to connect the Society with international funders and other resources.

    “Since the inception of the Conservation Society of Pohnpei ten years ago, the community it serves has always been at the center and forefront of CSP's mission,” said Patterson Shed, executive director of CSP.

    “Our achievements are the direct result of strong partnerships and community support. CSP wishes to thank all our partners for believing and supporting a decade of conservation from Ridges to Reefs in Pohnpei.”

    Shed accepted the $5,000 prize during a high-level awards ceremony in Barcelona, which included such dignitaries as Prince Albert of Monaco and American billionaire Ted Turner. Shed assured the prize committee as well as leaders from international groups and foreign governments that the prize is ultimately a recognition of the commitment of the people of Pohnpei.

    “The level of competition for the prize was extremely high and the depth of nominations received was truly impressive. Among this year’s remarkable entries, you provided us with a strong demonstration of the inventiveness of community-based work currently being undertaken in the tropics, often against tremendous odds,” the prize committee said.

    In addition to receiving a monetary endowment of $5,000 the organization joins an increasingly influential avant-garde of 78 previous Equator Prize winners that stand at the forefront of translating local action into global sustainable development.

    “In that spirit, you now become an essential part of our core global network of Equator Prize winners and we look forward to promoting and enhancing your work.

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    Thursday, November 06, 2008

    Press Release on the GO LOCAL Awareness Workshops in northern Malaita, Solomon Islands

    From : Island Food Community of Pohnpei

    On 6 to 10 October, the Kastom Gaden Association organized a special series of nutrition awareness workshops on Malaita in the area of Malu’u, supported by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research/HarvestPlus, Island Food Community of Pohnpei/Micronesia, and the International Potato Center. The facilitators were Dr. Graham Lyons, Dr. Wendy Foley, Dr. Lois Englberger, Ms. Roselyne Kabu, Mr. Lawrence Atu, and Nelsen Alatala.

    The workshop focused on the health benefits of orange and yellow-fleshed bananas, sweet potatotes and other local foods. The varieties of these that are deeper in color contain more of a substance called beta-carotene, which turns to vitamin A in the body and helps protect against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, malaria, infections, and weak blood. Participants learned that the white-fleshed foods are also nutrient-rich and contain at least some beta-carotene but rice, noodles, bread, and sugar contain none. It was stressed that what you eat does affect your health. A person may feel all right with eating only rice for some meals but over a period of time will get sick if that is continued.

    Participants also learned about the bananas that have upright bunches and have more orange/yellow flesh that are particularly good for the health. Another substance that they contain is riboflavin or vitamin B2. When you eat these bananas, the urine becomes yellow but this is fine and good for you, it just means that your body does not need all the vitamins at that time.

    The “CHEEF” benefits of local foods were also explained. “CHEEF” refers to Culture, Health, Environment, Economic, and Food security. Finally participants learned the Let’s Go Local song! (written by Gibson Santos of Pohnpei).

    Thanks are expressed to all those assisting in the arrangements and all the participants!

    Dr. Lois Englberger, PhD
    Island Food Community of Pohnpei
    P. O. Box 1995
    Kolonia, Pohnpei 96941 FM
    Federated States of Micronesia
    Website: http://www.islandfood.org

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