Long-standing cultural and spiritual foundations link Pacific island peoples with their terrestrial, coastal, and marine ecosystems and the species they harbour. However, native species are in decline and ecosystems are being disrupted by human activity. For many years, growth in economies and populations has been driving unsustainable resource use and extraction. This has led to over-harvesting of vital coastal and pelagic fisheries, declining animal populations, and species loss from overhunting. Unsustainable logging and forest conversion for plantation agriculture has often resulted in severe localised impacts on fresh water and soil loss. The associated sedimentation has compromised nearshore coral reef and coastal ecosystems. On some larger high islands, poorly managed mining operations have had devastating environmental and social impacts. Increased transport and trade have brought invasive species to Pacific islands. These have severe ecological impacts on biodiversity, as well as economic impacts on major production sectors, tourism, and trade. A sustainable future for the people of the Pacific islands will require action to arrest these trends.
This second strategic priority will contribute to a sustainable future by supporting ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation. The Secretariat will focus on providing technical and advisory support to Members in designing and implementing National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plans (NBSAPs, and their equivalents in territories). Better understanding of how healthy, effectively managed terrestrial and coastal ecosystems contribute to islands' resilience to impacts will be an essential component of Pacific island climate change policies and adaptation measures. The cultural dimension of environmental concerns will be addressed by taking into consideration our traditional biological knowledge and practices, and regional initiatives to foster natural and cultural heritage.
Species conservation and management will be improved by encouraging the effective implementation of international agreements and supporting cost-effective regional programmes and policies. These include existing regional mechanisms such as the:
- Action Strategy for Nature Conservation;
- Guidelines for Invasive Species Management in the Pacific
- Pacific Islands Regional Marine Species Programme 2013 - 2017
- Regional Shark Action Plan
- Oceania Humpback Whale Recovery Plan
- Pacific Islands Regional Guidelines for Whale and Dolphin Watching
The Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management Strategic Priority will be delivered through the following four main priority thematic areas:
4 Thematic Areas
- Invasive Species
- Island and Oceanic Ecosystems
- Threatened and Migratory Species
- Regional and International Instruments