Call for Proposals
Available sessions are Tuesday 3rd, Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th Decemeber between 2 - 5:30pm. For more details, see the draft conference agenda.
To lodge a submission for consideration, please download the Call for Proposals - Parallel Sessions and Parallel Session Application Form documents. Follow the instructions and return your completed application by 31st May to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Successful submitters will be notified by 14th June 2013. Please contact conference organisers via email with any questions.
This conference is the premier event for nature conservation, biodiversity and protected area work in the Pacific Region. Since 1975 this conference has occurred every 4-5 years and is attended by representatives from governments, Pacific Island communities, NGOs, major donors and academics.
The key output for this conference is the development of a new Action Strategy for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas in the Pacific Islands Region (action Strategy). This conference and resulting Action Strategy will shape the direction of nature conservation and protected area work over the next 5 years for our region – do not miss the opportunity to be involved in this significant event and contribute to protecting and conserving our unique environment and our Pacific way of life.
The theme for the conference is Natural Solutions: building resilience for a changing Pacific. This event will discuss progress on conservation efforts in the Pacific since the last conference, lessons learnt and the challenges ahead of us. This event will identify and assess:
- Natural solutions to the impacts of climate change through the application of ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) approaches,
- Review Pacific progress towards selected international, regional and national biodiversity and ecosystem strategies,
- Promote sustainable development and resilient communities through the growth of blue/green economies.
- Long-term commitments to conservation work to protect valuable resources, food security and the Pacific way of life.
Send an email to email@example.com to be added to our mailing list. You will be kept a breast of conference developments with email updates.
Further sections of this website are being developed that will highlight where and how you can help us with this major event. If you have any general queries or can assist the conference organisers in setting up this event, including funding support and labour, please send us an email and we will contact you directly.
This conference is being organised through the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), in partnership with the Government of Fiji and the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation (PIRT).
The status of Peka on Niue: populations survey of Pteropus Tonganus
Integrated coastal management in the Pacific
The intersection of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems at the shoreline bring together two very different, complex and yet highly interrelated ecosystems. Unfortunately, these ecosystems are increasingly subject to a range of human activities which pose very significant threats to their long-term sustainability. The marine and coastal environmental issues facing the Pacific region are similar to other parts of the world. The most serious of these issues are the loss of biodiversity, solid and liquid waste management, over-exploitation of living resources and destructive harvesting practices, introduction of alien species and destruction of habitat and coastal degradation due to poor land practices that lead to pollution and siltation. Other driving forces throughout the region include high population growth generally, but specifically in urban areas due to urban drift, and a shift from subsistence to cash economies. A complicating factor is that the region's development is constrained by small size and remoteness to international markets.
Maintaining the integrity of ecosystems and protecting the biodiversity in these ecosystems is challenging because of the great range of biological, physical and socio-economic pressures involved. Resolution of these complex problems is complicated because of the many institutions (or in some instances, the lack of) and interests that are interconnected and must be considered during the problem-solving process. Responsibility for managing the many relevant activities is frequently divided among different national and local institutions. The result is that one institution's actions may have significant adverse impacts on the resources of another. Thus in addition to the problem of remote causes and effects, there may be little opportunity or incentive for inter-agency cooperation that could avoid or minimize the externalities. The management responses from Pacific island countries have also been hampered by an overall lack of appropriate legislation for ICM, and insufficient capacity to implement existing management strategies.
Integration of management and decision-making processes is what separates integrated coastal management from other sectoral strategies for natural resource management. The multitude of natural and human processes occurring in the same location require solutions that have a diverse combination of activities. Fortunately, traditional marine tenure is still strong in most Pacific. This can be advantage if these traditional systems are integrated, where appropriate, into coastal management activities as it aids in developing ownership and ensuring sustainability of activities.
When we consider the factors above, fragmented governance and strong traditional tenure systems, we realize that we need to take a "three track" approach to coastal management in the region if we are to succeed in maintaining healthy coastal environments. To achieve sustained progress we must simultaneously work at (1) local-level geographically oriented site-management programmes, and (2) framework policy initiatives at the higher levels of local and national government, i.e. we need to integrate "top-down" and "bottom-up" management. "Top-down" reflects the focus of national government along with its institutions and procedures and the need for national policy reform. It assumes that if the "command and control" capacity of central government is properly tuned then proper measures of natural resource management will follow. The "bottom-up" approach emphasizes activities at the local community level which may be transferred to catalyze action within the rest of the system, i.e. community-based coastal resource management.
A third dimension is integration between sectors and disciplines. It is unusual for one agency alone to have all the expertise necessary to meet the challenges of complex coastal or aquatic resource management and biodiversity issues given the number of overlying interests and institutional jurisdictions. Success requires collaboration and partnerships between various government institutions, user groups, universities, non-governmental organizations, communities and those with the financial and technical assistance. These long-term relationships are built on trust and nourished by shared experiences, achievements and values.
The three-track strategy combines these approaches by simultaneously building capacity both within government and at sites. Both government and communities then are involved in the systematic analysis of coastal management issues and in planning for implementation of responsible action. This approach creates dialogue that promotes a common vision and shared purpose. Bringing the user and the manager together provides opportunities for groups to meet face to face and to develop a common respect and understanding. Involving the coastal users and understanding their perception of management actions helps to make the decision-making process more efficient. Engaging local communities gives the community a sense of ownership and provides continuity as it is less susceptible to the continuous changes in personnel and political agenda within national governments.
Integrated coastal zone management must be seen as a long-term approach in some countries. True integrated institutional approaches are unlikely in the foreseeable future. What is needed perhaps is institutional coordination both horizontally (across sectors) and vertically (local-provincial-national), which can be achieved at relatively low cost and with minimal institutional structuring.
Other factors that will contribute to improved coastal environments are alternative income-generating programmes and the use of marine protected/specially managed areas in the management approach. The use of a catchment management/ecosystem-based approach is also becoming more accepted.
Key requirements to create an enabling environment for integrated coastal management and community-based coastal resource management include:
Simple and clear regulations that are relevant to communities and are adopted in local ordinances.
Enabling a framework to facilitate the adoption and enforcement of local rules.
Awareness programmes aimed at local and national leaders as well as resource owners, especially where marine tenure is strong.
Assistance on technical aspects of resource management.
Inter-sectoral collaboration to address land-based threats to coastal habitats.
Go to "Programme > Island ecosystem"
Climate change, variability and sea level change
Heat from the sun passes through the atmosphere and warms the surface of the Earth. Some of this heat is reflected back into outer space through the atmosphere and some is retained, just like in a greenhouse. It is this balance of absorption and reflection, known as the greenhouse effect, that has kept the Earth's temperature stable for eons. Over billions of years the Earth has developed a system that can absorb and recycle the gases produced by natural process like plant and animal respiration, volcanic eruptions and forest fires.
As oil and coal are burned the carbon they contain combines with oxygen in the air to give off heat and produce carbon dioxide, and other gases. As population increases and development spreads, more and more energy is being used and ever-increasing volumes of carbon dioxide are being generated. Since 1750, when written records were first kept, the global concentration of carbon dioxide has increased by about 30%. Emissions of methane and nitrous oxide, from fuel consumption, converting forest to farmland, cultivation and fertilization of soils, production of ruminant livestock and management of livestock manure, have increased by roughly 131% and 17% in 250 years. However, carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas.
The amounts of greenhouse gases that are being produced have exceeded the Earth's ability to absorb them and they are accumulating in the atmosphere. As they build up they trap more and more heat from the sun inside the atmosphere. It is generally accepted that this build up is one of the primary causes of an increase in the average temperature of the Earth, which will eventually cause significant changes in the Earth's climate.
One of the greatest challenges to sustainable development in the 21st century is climate change. Climate change is a change in the "average weather" that a region experiences. By increasing the amount of heat-trapping gases released, humankind has enhanced the warming capability of the natural greenhouse effect. It is the human-induced enhanced greenhouse effect that causes environmental concern.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects that unless drastic action is taken, global temperatures will continue to rise and extreme events will become more frequent and intense. Most governments in the world are making efforts to reduce the production of greenhouse gases, even though fossil fuels will remain the mainstay of energy production well into the 21st century and agriculture must produce more and more food. Governments are also looking for ways to remove the excess carbon dioxide that is already in the atmosphere, but the amounts are so huge this may not be practical. This has serious implications for the fragile and vulnerable islands of the Pacific, already witnessing the negative impacts of climate change as sea levels rise.
Many Pacific islands are extremely vulnerable to climate change, climate variability, and sea level rise and will be among the first to suffer the impacts of climate change and among the first to be forced to adapt or abandon or relocate from their environment. The islands are low lying or have coastal features and characteristics that make them particularly vulnerable to climate change, variability and sea level change. In addition to significant coastal impacts climate change will affect biodiversity, soils and the water supplies of small islands. Most small island states will find it extremely difficult to adaptation to these changing conditions. The impacts will be felt for many generations because of the small island states' low adaptive capacity, high sensitivity to external shocks and high vulnerability to natural disasters.
Failure to adapt to climate change now could lead to high social and economic costs in the future. For the low lying atolls, the economic disruption could be catastrophic, even to the extent of requiring population relocation into other islands or increasing the number of people emigrating from the islands. Some areas of coral reefs, may be so enfeebled by overfishing that they may not be able to recover from bleaching events in the future. Public pressure is mounting for action on adaptation. There is growing community and government concern about the need to reduce the islands' vulnerability and manage the risks posed by extreme events and long-term change.
Climate change is recognized as serious threat in the region. The socio-economic, environmental, physical and cultural damages that climate change will wreak on the region are of concern to a great range of stakeholders. What makes the concern so urgent is the knowledge that there is a window of opportunity to halt climate change, that it is economically feasible to do so, yet actions by those most responsible for causing climate change has been lacklustre at best.
The region has understood the growing danger, and has taken steps, first of all by building capacity. Regional and inter-regional cooperation between island nations has been established. The activities in the region have also been shaped against the backdrop of international developments, such as the Bali Action Plan, further elaborated at the Bangkok Climate change talks. Some PICs have established nationally funded climate change focal points, and have taken the necessary steps to ensure continuity in their representation as well as in their staff development and capacity building.
The region is taking action because of the recognition of the dangers of climate change. It could be said that the basic rationale is to avoid the unmanageable and manage the unavoidable. However, there is only so much that the region can do in isolation, given the enormity of the impacts faced and the lack of wherewithal to finance adaptation. For PICs, the need for adaptation has become increasingly urgent. Long-term climate change, including the increasing frequency and severity of extreme events such as heat waves, high rainfall intensity events, summer droughts, tropical cyclones, windstorms, storm surges, and El-Nino-like conditions are affecting the lives and livelihoods of people in PICs. Coupled with overexploitation of resources, increasing urbanization and population increase, the compounding effect has caused considerable and widespread damage and threatens development in the region. For the low lying atolls, the likely economic disruption could be catastrophic, even to the extent of requiring population relocation into other islands or adding numbers to the Pacific Diaspora, with the subsequent social and cultural disruption having unknown proportions. Failure to reduce vulnerability could also result in loss of opportunities to manage risks in the future when the impacts may be greater and time to consider options limited.
Today, roughly 1 million people live on coral islands worldwide, and many more millions live on low-lying real estate vulnerable to the rising waves. At risk are not just people, but unique human cultures, born and bred in watery isolation. Faced with inundation, some of these people are beginning to envision the wholesale abandonment of their nations. These islands could be rendered uninhabitable by other effects of climate change. Floods and rogue waves raise the saltwater table underlying the atolls, poisoning the staple crops of our atoll societies. Already some farmers have been forced to grow their taro in tin containers, and already some of the smaller islands in the atolls have lost their coconut palms to saltwater intrusion.
Since the impacts of climate change will be varied from country to country, comprehensive national strategies and action plans, supported by regional and international technical and financial services, will have to be developed. Mainstreaming of climate change in national sustainable development policies will be crucial, given that climate change impacts so many if not all vital sectors of the Pacific economies. A good start has been made in the PICs with the country-team approach to FCCC National Communications as well as towards the various GEF climate change projects. Such country teams require being institutionalised and at an appropriate level so as to be able to influence decision-making.
The priorities for the region continues to be adaptation primarily, but there are also country specific issues and particular community needs. Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions has also been given political importance, from the point of view of the international message sent, but also from the perspective of fuel economy, energy independence and employment. There is also the recognized need to improve the climate change governance in the region, to establish practical working alliances and partnerships, and to improve the climate change knowledge base in the region.
The Pacific Island Leaders adopted the Pacific Islands Framework for Action (PIFACC) 2006-2015 in 2005 and SPREP was directed to develop an Action Plan to implement PIFACC, by establishing a set of national and regional activities that would meet the key principles of PIFACC. The PCCR will have a monitoring and evaluation function, amongst its other tasks, and will therefore allow PICTs to gauge the degree to which national and regional actions have met those key principles. It is envisaged that there will be yearly meetings of PCCR and that it will select specific themes to focus on each year to give particular attention to gaps, challenges as well as successes in the region. This will provide yearly opportunities to prioritise those areas where little progress has been made and to establish which key principles may have been met. Some principles may have to be revisited in future years.
In this sense the PCCR meetings can be viewed as stand-alone events in a continuum of PIFACC activities, while at the same time contributing to the overall achievement of climate change resilience in the Pacific region.
· To help update the PICTs on regional and international actions undertaken in support of the Framework and Action Plan;
To finalize a matrix to provide a clear overview of ongoing and planned activities at the national and regional levels, with responsible agencies or entities, and agree on mechanisms for measuring progress, identifying difficulties, and addressing actions needing special attention;
To assist donors in gaining an understanding of climate change initiatives in the region and allow for better targeted assistance to areas in the Action Plan where there are gaps;
To share lessons learned from best practices in the implementation of climate change programmes;
To engage a wide range of stakeholders and regional organizations;
To provide an opportunity to prepare for international meetings of the UNFCCC; and
To disseminate information on new and existing funding modalities and opportunities.
In order to meet these objectives participants will be expected to provide information to SPREP for inclusion in a matrix, to be developed by SPREP, of regional and international activities so that the meeting itself will allow for updating of all parties on actions undertaken in support of the Framework and Action Plan. Participants will be invited to provide views on the matrix to help finalize it. Participants, in particular donors, will thus be assisted in understanding the overall picture of what activities are occurring through discussion of the contents of the matrix. SPREP will seek to obtain information from participants and project implementers so as to structure a discussion on best practices as well as areas with less success. Information received in advance of the meeting will determine the manner and extent to which the various objectives will be featured in the agenda.
The region has also recognized the need to mainstream climate change with other sustainable development activities. The Secretariat has therefore initiated a mainstreaming exercise with other CROP agencies aimed at reaching a common understanding of 'mainstreaming' and its methodology. An agreed joint CROP-wide program on mainstreaming, including roles and responsibilities and an indicative budget has also been agreed with a timeline for the implementation of mainstreaming programs for 2008-2010.
The region has minuscule emissions of GHGs on a global scale, even if looked at from a per capita emissions basis. The transportation sector in the PICs has grown rapidly in recent years while about 70% of PIC populations don't have access to electricity so emissions are expected to grow in the future, as the transportation sector continues to grow and Governments seek to improve the livelihoods of the communities. Also, there are significant inefficiencies in the current power generation and transmission systems in the PICs, with losses calculated to around 30% of production. There are therefore opportunities for mitigation in the current energy mix and to ensure sustainable growth in energy production and access that does not increase the region's carbon footprint.
The Pacific Islands Greenhouse Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy Project (PIGGAREP) is a GEF-funded five-year regional GHG mitigation project that started in 2007. Eleven PICs are participating in the PIGGAREP. The PIGGAREP aims to remove the technical, institutional, financial, market, policy and awareness barriers to the widespread and productive utilisation of feasible renewable energy technologies in the PICs. These are to be carried through various national activities like resources assessments, feasibility studies, rehabilitation of existing renewable energy systems and the installations of new ones, various training and awareness programmes, the formulation and adoption of new policies and legislations and through various partnerships with donors, banks and agencies working on renewable energy in the region.
The PIGGAREP aims to reduce the GHG emissions by 33% under the business-as-usual scenario by 2015.
But energy efficiency also has economic and social benefits that often have been overlooked in the past. The increasing cost of fuel is impacting heavily upon lives in the Pacific, and the impact of this rising cost is transmitted through every aspect of daily lives. The electricity tariff has increased by about 20% in Tonga. RMI is currently in a state of economic emergency. The Solomon Islands government recently contributed US$400,000 to avoid the repeated power shutdowns at Honiara. Bus owners demanded a fare increase in Fiji. The price for a burger at McDonalds has gone up and Pacific Blue has just announced the introduction of a new extra baggage fee. Now, more than ever, is the need for renewable energy sources and improved energy efficiency becoming more of a reality.
The oil crisis of 1973 and 1979 drew the attention of some Pacific Islands to invest on renewable energy. We have witnessed the impacts. More than half of the electricity generated in Fiji and Samoa were from renewable sources of energy. But this share is slowly eroding because the renewable energy momentum has not kept up with the increasing demand for energy. Just imagine what it would be like, if 35 years ago the whole region was consistently working towards utilising its rich renewable energy potentials.
The key energy problem in the PICs is the heavy reliance on the imported, expensive and polluting fossil fuel. A fossil fuel energy path is not a sustainable one. Getting cheaper oil prices are therefore short to medium measures. Renewable energy is a medium to long-term measure. We invest on it now for the many crises that are yet to come. This week the Fiji Cabinet approved an electricity tariff increase of 1 cent per unit. This increase will be used for the construction of the Nadarivatu Hydro Power project where hundreds of new jobs will be created during its construction but also diesel cost savings as a result of a reduction in diesel imports.
It is interesting to note the current commitments to renewable energy in the region. The Fiji Electricity Authority has a vision of becoming a renewable energy power utility by 2011. The power utility in Vanuatu (UNELCO) has a target of generating 25% of its electricity from renewables by 2020. Samoa aims to increase the current share of renewable energy by 20% by 2030. Tonga has just announced a US$50 million that will generation 50% of the country's electricity from renewable sources of energy in the next three years.
It is appropriate for PICs to take measures now and make the long-term commitments to pursue a Renewable Energy path and then work with development partners to try and utilize the vast potential that the region has for renewable energy. Renewable Energy should not be taken as a reactive measure to the rising costs of fuel as it is well known that a fossil fuel energy path is not a sustainable one. A visionary concept like a Pacific Fossil Fuel Free Future or P4F is therefore not a bad starting point. The international negotiations on Climate Change offer avenues where assistance can be provided to the region's renewable energy developments. The tidal, wave and OTEC energy that could be derived from our vast ocean remains virtually untouched and should be an area that PICs should raise as a priority for research, monitoring and development.
Growing evidence of climate change impacts in the region has been documented for many years. Various initiatives have been started to assist the region assess and document vulnerabilities and to find solutions that are acceptable to the local communities. This requires an approach that combines awareness raising and training, as well as capacity building within institutions and for personnel. Much more needs to be done however, and building on past experiences the region will commence implementation of a regional project that will introduce adaptation options in the areas of water resources management, food security and coastal zone management and infrastructure.
The Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Project (PACC) is a regional project focusing on climate change adaptation. It is one of the few projects globally to access the Special Climate Change Fund of the GEF. In the April session of the GEF Council, the PACC Project Inception Form was approved which secures USD13.125 million of adaptation funding to the region. The objective of the PACC is to enhance the resilience of a number of key development sectors (food production and food security, water resources management, coastal zone, infrastructure etc.) in the Pacific islands to the adverse effects of climate change. This objective will be achieved by focusing on long-term planned adaptation response measures, strategies and policies. To ensure sustainability of the project, regional and national adaptation financing instruments will also be developed.
Thirteen Pacific Island Countries (PICs) will take part in the PACC project. They are as follows: i) Cook Islands; ii) Federated States of Micronesia; iii) Fiji; iv) Marshall Islands; v) Nauru; vi) Niue; vii) Palau; viii) Papua New Guinea; ix) Samoa x) Solomon Islands; xi) Tonga; xii) Tuvalu; and, xiii) Vanuatu. Kiribati currently has a national adaptation project and did not wish to be part of the regional project.
The main programme in the region is the Pacific Islands Global Climate Observation System (PI-GCOS). In addition to work on adaptation in the region, serious gaps exist in the scientific and meteorological work that the region requires in order to address climate change and climate variability and predict extreme events.
In response to interest from the regions, WMO embarked on work to assist SIDS in all regions to access the GCOS network. In the Pacific PI-GCOS has been in existence since 2002 with a steering committee forming its Action Plan and Implementation Plan.
Under the latter, a list of 31 projects were identified (with initial indicative budgets) to meet needs in areas ranging from research and policy development, to technical capacity building in observation networks and enhancement of operational early warning systems.
Its main achievements to date have been the enhancement of the capacity in nine PICs in seasonal climate prediction, the rescue and management of historical climate data and improvement of access to data, as well as a marked improvement in the maintenance and increased output from GCOS identified GUAN and GSN stations in the Pacific. These achievements have been undertaken also in ways that have built local capacities in consideration also of the need for sustainability and appropriateness of these works.
It is a major contributor thus to cooperation and partnership for climate change work particularly in taking stock of, and supporting, the technical and scientific level needs for climate information and applications. At its formative meetings in 2000-2003 the then PI-GCOS Steering Committee decided to prepare project proposals with concrete and achievable targets, and with full budgets. These include pilot projects assessing the impacts of climate variability and change on ocean and island ecosystems, expansion and enhancement of climate prediction, along with operational training programmes to incorporate some of the new knowledge gained from this research within national climate centres of PICs. Unfortunately, the large majority of the most key projects identified have not received funding and this remains a major barrier for work in the region.
The Implementation Plan reaffirms that PI-GCOS is intended to be a long term, user driven operational system capable of providing the comprehensive observations required for monitoring the climate system, for detecting and attributing climate change, for assessing the impacts of climate variability and change, and for supporting research toward improved understanding, modelling and prediction of the climate system. Its nesting within the climate change programme of SPREP ensures that the gaps in scientific knowledge and information in this area are addressed and that it provides and builds linkages across to other areas of efforts in climate change.
At the international level most climate change financing has come through the GEF. In past years this was largely limited to enabling activities for fulfilling the reporting requirement under the FCCC. The establishment of the LDC Fund and the Special Climate Change Fund further added to the opportunities for financing. However, political considerations initially limited the outflow of resources from these funds. The 5 PIC LDCS have now all accessed their National Adaptation Plan of Action (NAPA) funding from the LDCF and the reports have been completed. Within the NAPA each country has identified projects that are eligible for funding. Samoa was the first to seek funding for implementation of some of these projects, but a lack of resources within the fund will create a backlog.
All future disbursements under the GEF will be handled under the GEF-PAS, which makes available to the region over $30 million for adaptation and $14 million for mitigation initiatives over the next 4 years. Operationally this will create greater predictability for GEF resources but it may not increase the overall funding availability. However, the possibilities for additional co-financing and leveraging of funds should not be overlooked.
As mentioned, a NAPA process has been available for the PICs that are LDCs, funded under the GEF LDC Fund and with technical support from the LDC Expert Group. Other PICs have seen the benefit of this support and have called for a similar activity to be made available to non-LDC SIDS. At the recent FCCC subsidiary bodies meeting an agreement was reached that in principle approves such a process. However, the details such as financing and sourcing of technical support need to be worked out. If this support was to be disbursed on a bilateral basis, then action can occur fairly soon. However, if the GEF is to be involved a decision on GEF guidance must be taken at COP-14 in Poznan followed by acceptance by the GEF Council, which could delay action until mid-2009. There may therefore be a need to develop a concept paper for submission to interested donors.
The Secretariat recently submitted a series of climate change adaptation project concepts to AusAID, in order to benefit from the recently announced Australian adaptation funding. This funding will also be available to the PICs on a bilateral basis.
The Secretariat has also secured funding from the EC to build capacity for Multilateral Environment Agreement, and a key part of that project will be the Climate Change Convention. There are further opportunities for financing climate change projects under other EC funds. The Secretariat is also working with other UN agencies to access capacity building funds for adaptation.
For more information on specific SPREP climate-related activities and initiatives, visit SPREP's Climate Change Portal.
Pacific Island governments, along with other world leaders and civil society, have pledged their commitment to take action to change and promote sustainable development. Along with this commitment is the recognition that a sustainable future is dependent upon a considerable shift in attitudes, value, lifestyles and behaviour.
Education and training are critical components of SPREP’s mandate and vision for sustainable development in the Pacific. This is clearly identified in SPREP’s Strategic Programmes and Action Plan endorsed by Pacific leaders in 2004.
SPREP is committed to promoting environment for sustainable development issues in the Pacific, through supporting members develop national activities and initiatives, and through encouraging collaboration and partnerships to strengthen the profile of environmental education and communication in the region.
Education and Communication for a Sustainable Pacific: A Guiding Framework (2005 – 2007)
SPREP and members, with support from UNEP, have developed the Guiding Framework which aims to guide the implementation of education and communication initiatives to promote environment for sustainable development in the Pacific.
A key role of the Framework is to support the development of annual national action pans to focus on key priorities, whilst integrating the education and communication requirements of existing environmental/sustainable development programmes and initiatives.
Focusing on three key areas; Formal Education, Communication, and Capacity Development, Partnerships and Networks, the Framework provides realistic, achievable and measurable actions for supporting the integration of principles of sustainability into national action plans, and existing environment for sustainable development programmes.
Target area: FORMAL EDUCATION
Goal: To incorporate local, regional and international environmental issues into all formal education in Pacific Islands, integrating cultural, traditional and contemporary knowledge, skills and attitudes to enhance sustainable development.
Target area: COMMUNICATION
Goal: To motivate, inspire and empower people to sustainably manage their environment, through knowledge transfer, skills building, and promotion of positive attitudes and behaviours.
Target area: CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT, PARTNERSHIPS, AND NETWORKING
Goal: To promote and improve the exchange of information, skills and resources and to gain support for education and communication in environment and sustainable development through formal and non formal networks at local, national, regional and international levels.
SPREP recognises the vast differences of its member countries and territories and the Framework aims to provide a foundation to progress education and communication as powerful tools for achieving sustainable development in the Pacific, and support the integration of ESD principles into existing strategies.
Strengthening Environmental Communications capacity in the Pacific
Communications can be defined as using the right tool, to promote the right message, to the right people, at the right time. SPREP is committed to supporting its members strengthen the role of communications in promoting environment for sustainable development through the provision of communications training workshops.
Between August andDecember 2006, SPREP in partnership with its members, facilitated the Communicating for Change workshop series, an interactive and action oriented training programme involving more than 100 government and NGO representatives, and members of the media from 11 Pacific countries and territories.
Following on from these workshops, SPREP will continue to support members to strengthen environmental communications throughout 2007.
From education to behaviour change
SPREP is working to develop models that promote the strategic integration of behaviour change principles into broader strategic planning. There is also a growing recognition of the need to not only KNOW more but to ACT more. Education lays the foundation for initiating and promoting changes in attitudes and behaviours, and can reinforce learning and awareness, however, there are many intrinsic and extrinsic factors to consider when aiming to changing individual and collective behaviour. SPREP continues to promote the importance of considering behaviour change tools (such as social marketing) in the development of campaigns, and continues to advocate for the integration of communication into project planning and development.
SPREP and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
What is Education for Sustainable Development?
ESD is a vision of education that seeks to empower people to assume responsibility for creating a sustainable future. ESD aims to prepare people of all walks of life to plan for, cope with and find solutions for issues that threaten the sustainability of our planet and the well-being of all humans.
ESD has four major domains, reflecting diverse goals and audiences: promotion and improvement of basic education; reorienting existing education programmes at all levels to address sustainable development; developing public awareness and understanding of sustainability; and training.
Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005 – 2017)
2005 – 2017 has been declared the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development with UNESCO as the global lead agency. SPREP is considered a key stakeholder in regional discussions, and contributed to the development of a regional ESD Framework in its capacity as a member of the Pacific ESD Technical Working Group.
Pacific Framework for Education for Sustainable Development
In September 2006, Pacific Education Ministers endorsed the Pacific Framework for Education for Sustainable Development in Nadi, Fiji. SPREP will continue to work with key agencies to drive the development of Education for Sustainable Development in the Pacific.
In 2007 SPREP will work with its members to develop an ESD-Environment focus building on various environmental education initiatives undertaken over the past decade.
SPREP’s climate change education and communications
SPREP recognizes the importance of media and communications in promoting environmental sustainability, and works closely with key partners and media organizations to build capacity in this area. SPREP works across three key areas: island biodiversity conservation, climate change and variability, and waste management.
Selected Current Initiatives
- 2008 Pacific Year of the Reef
- Pacific Climate Change Film Project
- 2008 Pacific Future Environment Leaders Forum
- New waste materials
2008 Pacific Year of the Reef
Legends of the Reef school competition
Children aged 5-12 years from all Pacific island countries and territories are invited to write a brief story (up to 500 words) about a legend or story from their country or community, and prepare a poster.
One regional winner will be selected and receive a USD$500 book prize for their school, as well as a special Winner’s Pack.
The stories and pictures will be displayed at SPREP meetings, and other events during the 2008 Pacific Year of the Reef.
Click here for more information.
challengecoralreef is open to any school group (of students aged between 13 and 18 years of age) to develop an ‘Action Plan’ to manage or conserve their local reef. Five Champion teams from around the Pacific will receive funding to implement the key actions. A representative of the winning team will be invited to attend the International Coral Reef Symposium in Florida in July 2008.
Click here for more information.
Pacific Climate Change Film Project
The Pacific Climate Change Film Project is an innovative partnership between SPREP and the British High Commission, Suva to share inspiring stories about how Pacific communities are responding to the impacts of climate change.
The Pacific Climate Change Flim Project will train and support media professionals, filmmakers and producers from five countries to research, develop and produce their own short films on how climate change is affecting their countries. The films aim to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change and to share the inspirational stories about what is being done to reduce its impacts. Participants involved in this project are from: Fiji, Kiribati, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Independent filmmakers from the Cook Islands and Samoa are also participating in this project.
The films will be shown at the Pacific’s first climate change related film festival in Suva, Fiji August 2008.
Click here for more information on the Pacific Climate Change Film Project.
Get involved! Submit your films to the Pacific Climate Change Film Festival! Entries close 1 July 2008.
SPREP is now inviting submissions to the Pacific’s Climate Change Film Festival in Suva, Fiji in August 2008. Click here for more information and entry form.
2008 Pacific Future Environment Leaders Forum
The Pacific Future Environment Leaders Forum is a leadership initiative for young professionals working in the area of environmental sustainability in the Pacific.
The Forum will take place from 12 - 14 March 2008 in Suva, Fiji. The Forum will focus on climate change issues, how Pacific islanders will be affected, and what young people can do to increase resilience to climate change in their communities.
The Forum is a joint initiative of the University of the South Pacific (USP), the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and SPREP, with funding from the British High Commission, Suva.
For more information contact Aliti Koroi, firstname.lastname@example.org.
New waste materials
SPREP, in partnership with Live and Learn Environmental Education (Vanuatu) is currently finalising the Pacific Waste Education Handbook, a guide for educators and community facilitators to reduce rubbish in the Pacific. The Handbook will be available from the SPREP website in March 2008. For more information contact SPREP’s Solid Waste Officer, Mark Ricketts, email@example.com
‘Bring your own bag’ DVD
Just under five minutes, ‘Bring your own bag’ is an entertaining look at why plastic bags should not be used for everyday shopping. As an alternative, the video suggests that you “bring your own bag”. An animated turtle tells the story of plastic bags and encourages everyone to bring their own when they shop.
Waste world DVD
A dramatic short film which looks at the long-term impacts of not managing solid waste in the Pacific islands.
For more information on available resources visit www.sprep.org/publication/pub_top.asp.
For more information please contact
Education and Social Communications Advisor
PO Box 240
T: (685) 21929
F: (685) 20231
The Pacific Islands region covers 32 million sq km and is one of the richest on earth, with habitats ranging from mountain forest ecosystems to volcanic islands and low lying coral atolls
Amazingly, land makes up less than 2 percent of a region that includes over 7500 small volcanic islands and coral atolls. The huge expanse of ocean supports the most extensive and diverse coral reefs in the world, the largest tuna fishery, the deepest oceanic trenches and the healthiest and in some cases, largest remaining populations of many globally rare and threatened species including whales, sea turtles, dugongs and saltwater crocodiles.
The Pacific is home to a high proportion of endemic and threatened flora and fauna – for some islands over 80% of species are endemic. However, Pacific island biodiversity is under intense pressure from natural and human-induced disturbance, alien species introductions, population growth and other factors, and its flora and fauna are among the most highly threatened in the world. Furthermore, the small size and isolated nature of our islands makes them extremely vulnerable to these threats. Many of these endemic and threatened species are of material resource or spiritual/cultural significance to Pacific people.
Nature conservation at SPREP
SPREP's Natural Resource Management work is primarily focused on the effective protection of the natural heritage of the Pacific islands region through the conservation and sustainable management of their natural resources and biodiversity. Its focal areas are:
international conventions and regional coordinating mechanisms
The International Waters Programme, which undertakes conservation activities in 14 Pacific island countries, is part of the Division.
The natural resources of the Pacific region
Pacific island countries exhibit a unique combination of geographical, biological, sociological and economic characteristics that can be found nowhere else in the world. The 22 countries and territories occupy a vast area of the Pacific. They consist of 550 000 km² of land with nearly 8.5 million inhabitants spread across 29 million km² of the Pacific Ocean. Their Exclusive Economic Zones occupy 15 million km2.
There is great geographic, demographic and developmental diversity in the region. Some "groups" or countries like Guam, Kosrae, Nauru and Niue, consist of one single small island. Some like Fiji, Tonga and French Polynesia are comprised of many large and small highly dispersed islands. Others like Papua New Guinea and Solomons consist of parts of very large, high continental islands, plus countless offshore large and small islands. The total land areas vary from 12 to 26 km2 for groups of low-lying coral-limestone islands like Tokelau and Tuvalu to over 400,000 km2 for the continental island area of Papua New Guinea. Great differences in climate, geological resources, topographical features, soil types, mineral and water availability, extent of coral reefs and diversity of terrestrial, freshwater and marine flora and fauna are also found in the area.
The Pacific islands region has more rare, endangered and threatened species per capita than anywhere else in the world. Up to 50% of the region's total biodiversity is at risk. The islands support large tracts of intact forests including many unique species and communities of plants and animals. For some islands 80% or more of the species are endemic, with some species only found in micro-ecosystems within a single island.
Population densities for entire groups range from just over 1 person per km2 for Pitcairn Island to almost 300 or more for Nauru, Chuuk and Tuvalu. If the "most populous islands" are considered, the figures rise to over 100 per km2 for four islands, over 200 for 3 islands, and 421 for Koror in Palau, 757 for Funafuti in Tuvalu, 1179 for Majuro in the Marshall Islands, and 2190 for Tarawa in Kiribati. The estimated population for Betio Islet of Tarawa atoll was 40,000 in the year 2000, which will give it a population density rivaling the population densities of Hong Kong and Singapore.
Although some of the larger island groups with significant mineral, forestry, fisheries and agricultural land resources have potential for development, most Pacific Island states and territories and smaller outer islands and isolated rural communities do not. Because of small size, geographic isolation and extremely limited natural resources the options for modern economic development are extremely limited. Consequently, most island countries, territories and local communities will, for the foreseeable future, have to depend on the sustainable use of their local resources as a basis for their survival and development. In this respect, the Pacific region is unique in that most of the islands of the region are inhabited by indigenous peoples that have close links with, and great cultural, economic and spiritual dependence on, their island terrestrial and marine environment. In most cases, these indigenous people are the owners and users of these resources and ultimately control decisions related to their conservation and sustainable use.
Small island ecosystems are by nature, highly fragile and vulnerable to external disturbances. Add to this the increasing human consumption on limited natural resources, impacts of human induced activities and resulting alien invasive species – the result are severely degraded island ecosystems bordering on the margins of ecological collapse.
In the last 20 years, many coastal areas have been heavily modified and intensively developed, significantly increasing their vulnerability to natural climatic variability and extreme events and to global environmental changes such as climate change. Efforts in environmental monitoring, provision of data, environmental assessment and decision making therefore need to concentrate on the pressures on the coastal systems and communities.
The inevitable pressures on resources and the natural systems from increasing populations and their uncoordinated concentrations on many PICs give urgency to considerations to sustainable natural resource management. Pressures for global market economies have seen significant commercial harvesting of natural resources as well as subsistence harvesting.
Ecosystems and culture
With the exception of mainland PNG all the islands are coastal in nature and the populations are mostly located in the coastal areas. All parts of the islands [and communities] influence or are influenced by the character, the processes and activities occurring in coastal catchments, coastal lands and in coastal waters. The importance of coastal and marine areas to Pacific people, cultures and economies cannot be overstated. It is the focus of social and customary systems, and subsistence and cash economies. The coastal areas are also the most highly diverse of the ecosystems, but are extremely fragile and vulnerable to change. It is these areas that are also the recipient of most foreign and local physical development causing change to natural systems. This combination of factors is resulting in increasing degradation of habitats, soils, forests, coastal and inland waters, reefs, overexploitation of resources and growing conflicts in resource use and access.
The diversity of coral reef and marine resources is extremely high. The marine environments contain an enormous and largely unexplored resource, including the most extensive and diverse reef systems in the world, the largest tuna fishery, the deepest oceanic trenches and the healthiest remaining populations of threatened species of whales, sea turtles, dugongs and saltwater crocodiles. In many cases the potential of marine resources to contribute to economic growth has yet to be fully explored. The importance of coral reefs is paramount. Coral reef systems play a central role in maintaining precious beach and coastal land levels against the eroding forces of storms and rising seas, and they provide essential resources in terms of construction materials and habitat for marine species. Through their natural beauty and species diversity, they also provide a central attraction for the tourist industry.
2. Pacific Futures
Pacific island countries and territories able to plan and respond to threats and pressures on island and ocean systems.
- 2.1 Managing multilateral environmental agreements and regional coordination mechanisms
- 2.2. Environment monitoring and reporting
- 2.3. Climate change and atmosphere
- 2.4. Waste management and pollution control
- 2.5. Environmental planning
This Programme focuses on securing a healthy Pacific islands environment for future generations. Cross-cutting themes for the Programme include good governance - through building institutional capacity for assessment and priority setting, planning responses and ability to monitor and anticipate the impact of pressures, and emerging threats to Pacific islands. In the medium term, threats and pressures include climate change, climate variability, sea-level rise, pollution, waste and other land-based sources of pollution.
2.1 Managing multilateral environmental agreements and regional coordination mechanisms
Many Pacific islands are parties to a range of international environment-related agreements and processes. To secure favourable outcomes, Pacific island countries (PICs) are required to maintain an active role in the development and subsequent implementation of these agreements and negotiation outcomes. To support SPREP members, the Secretariat will promote coordination at the national level, provide technical and legal advice to countries, assist in preparing conference briefing papers, identify synergies between agreements and related international processes such as the Convention on Sustainable Development (CSD) and the Barbados Plan of Action Ten Year Review (BPoA+10), and coordinate pre-conference consultations to determine regional positions. This component also addresses the need to strengthen regional legal frameworks such as the Apia, SPREP and Waigani Conventions.
2.2. Environment monitoring and reporting
There are two linked components to this output. Ultimately, it aims to provide PICTs with better systems to monitor environmental performance, but recognizes that the key to this is the availability of suitable information.
The lack of data vital to effective decision making has been identified as a recurring need for most PICTs since the 1992 Rio Conference. Support for data acquisition, application and management is therefore a key element of this plan's emphasis on sustainable development. Increasingly the accessibility of data relates to the capability of countries in information and communication technologies. SPREP has a contribution to make in the best knowledge management practices across the region.
The state of the environment (SOE) component of the Programme will build on the outcomes of WSSD and BPoA+10 at the national and regional levels to reassess and identify key issues for environmental management and sustainable development. The aim is to develop processes to monitor detrimental trends, emerging threats or identify competing policies, which threaten sustainable development. Simple but systematic reporting systems shall be designed with PICTs and tailored to suit key issues and indicators. The outcome of this work will be a reduced burden of reporting by PICs to numerous multilateral environmental agreements and international agreements.
2.3. Climate change and atmosphere
One of the greatest challenges to sustainable development in the 21st century is climate change. While the international community has initiated steps under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to stabilize greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and promoted carbon trading to assist with this overall objective under its Kyoto Protocol, progress has been slow.
SPREP’s members have identified four main areas of work. First, meteorological and climatological capacities of PICTs need to be strengthened to plan and respond to climate variability and extreme weather events. Second, more research needs to be undertaken to understand climate variability, climate change and sea level rise through information, modeling and clearinghouse mechanisms. Such research needs to identify and assess vulnerabilities as well as impacts. Third, Pacific Islands urgently need to adapt to climate change and adopt mitigation options and coordination, and assistance is needed to assess and implement feasible options and access funds for implementation of activities. And fourth, technical/legal advisory services need to be provided to assist Pacific Island Parties implement the UNFCCC and to ensure consistency with other international processes such as the WSSD Type II initiatives and BPoA+10. As well linkages need to be made with the CBD and related instruments such as the Convention on Desertification.
At the regional level SPREP coordinates the regional framework for climate change and its attendant round table process, and assists with mainstreaming of climate change into developmental processes and capacity building activities. Eliminating ozone-depleting substances by the year 2005 to meet the objectives of the Montreal Protocol will also be addressed under this component.
2.4. Waste management and pollution control
Pollution is one of the major threats to sustainable development in the Pacific islands region. The transboundary nature of much marine pollution requires a coordinated and comprehensive approach to both assessment and control. Without adequate measures to combat the growing sources and extent of pollution, the Pacific islands’ efforts to maintain healthy societies, to stimulate development and new investment and a sustainable future for its people may be permanently undermined.
Increasing quantities of solid waste, the lack of controls on chemicals imported into the region, and the lack of capacity to manage the range of pollutants are of immediate concern for Pacific island members. In addition to land-based activities, the region’s coastal and marine resources are threatened by introduced marine species, ship wrecks, marine accidents and spills, ships’ waste and antifouling paints on vessels.
The primary role of SPREP is to assist countries in implementing the Programme, mainly through technical advice and support. It is expected that the Programme will continue to evolve over time, including a continuing move to an even greater focus on national activities carried out under bilateral arrangements. There are some elements, such as hazardous waste disposal, where SPREP is directly involved in implementation, because of the technical and logistical complexities of the work.
2.5. Environmental planning
Effective and lasting integration of environment and development is at the heart of sustainable development and, in turn, island livelihoods. The intent of environmental planning is to address the causes of environmental degradation and over-exploitation through integrated government and community decision-making mechanisms.
The aim is to enhance the range of tools available to PICTs to enable sound environmental decision making in the pursuit of sustainable development. Effective decision making through planning is the primary theme. Capacity development will assist with providing development-assessment tools to anticipate and address the negative pressures, the key risks and emerging threats, and to seek out sustainable development opportunities. There will also be the promotion of integrated assessment and environmental planning platforms for PICTs - to bring together the two above aspects in a manner that mainstreams environment as part of the development process.