Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation opens today in Honiara, Solomon Islands

21 August, 2017, Honiara, Solomon Islands - The 20th session of the Pacific Islands Roundtable (PIRT) for Nature Conservation officially opened this morning in Honiara, Solomon Islands with a theme of "Oceans at a tipping point –from global commitments to regional actions".

In welcoming Pacific delegates to the event, Solomon Islands' Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management (MECDM), Honourable Samuel Manetoali reiterated the message of improved partnerships for nature conservation.

"Managing our ocean resources sustainably under the growing social and economic pressures – local and global – is a massive challenge, and we know that this can only be achieved in partnership with other Pacific island countries and organisations such as those with PIRT membership."

"The Solomon Islands Government greatly values its relationship and association with the Roundtable members, both national and international NGOs."

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The 20th Pacific Roundtable for Nature Conservation attendees. Photo: SPREP

Hon. Minister Manetoali also highlighted that the Solomon Islands government has put forward five voluntary commitments at the UN Ocean Conference in New York in June 2017 that cover priority issues in marine pollution, fisheries management, governance, and resource management.

"We look forward to assisting this meeting, to draft partnerships across the region to target the commitments we all have made toward the UN SDG 14 on Life below Water."

Commenting on support to Pacific Island countries in regards to voluntary commitments, PIRT Chair Mr. Mason Smith of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) stated that many Pacific Island countries have made voluntary commitments and no doubt PIRT members will play a key role in assisting member countries to achieve these commitments through durable and sustainable partnerships.

Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) Mr. Kosi Latu called for combined efforts to seize the opportunities that are presented to the Pacific as the world takes an ever greater interest in the region.

"We have developed a strong working relationship amongst ourselves at PIRT, and we all have further extensive networks. Now, more than ever, we need to be active in promoting sustainable development hand in hand with protection of our physical and cultural environment and our ocean."

The Pacific Islands Round Table for Nature Conservation (PIRT) is a coalition of nature conservation and development organisations, governments, inter-governmental agencies, donor agencies, and community groups created to increase effective conservation action in the Pacific Islands Region.

PIRT is the key coordination mechanism for the implementation of the new Framework for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas in the Pacific Islands region 2014–2020 which was adopted at the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas and was endorsed at the 25th Annual SPREP Meeting in September 2014.

Currently, IUCN is the Chair and SPREP is the Secretariat of PIRT.

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