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SPREP statement made at the Thirteenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Cancun, Mexico

5 December 2016, CBD COP13, Cancun Mexico - The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) was given the floor today at the Thirteenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP13).  Mr Kosi Latu, Director General of SPREP made the a statement to the plenary on behalf of the organisation.

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"Madam Chair,

It is an honour to deliver opening remarks on behalf of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
SPREP would like to sincerely thank the Government of Mexico for hosting this important UN Biodiversity Conference in this beautiful venue.
SPREP conveys its appreciation to Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias for his leadership as Executive Secretary. It has been a pleasure working with you. Thank You!
I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ms. Cristiana Pasca Palmer in her appointment as the new Executive Secretary and look forward to working with you.
SPREP works in support our 26 government members, including all of the 21 countries and territories in the Pacific, to ensure that a healthy environment and biodiversity is the cornerstone of sustainable development.
In going forward, our new Strategic Plan 2017-2020 was recently endorsed at the 27th SPREP Council Meeting in September, this year. It is closely aligned to key global and regional commitments such as the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the 20 Aichi Targets, the Sustainable Development Goals, the S.A.M.O.A Pathway, regional frameworks such as the Framework for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas in the Pacific Island region 2014-2020, the Pacific Islands Oceanscape and others.
Because of the globally important biodiversity in the Pacific, biodiversity conservation is at the core of SPREP's work.
Chair, biodiversity is essential for life in the Pacific. It provides food, shelter, and underpins Pacific livelihoods.
Our region has made substantial commitments for the conservation of our oceans and marine biodiversity through the establishment of marine protected areas such as the Phoenix Island Protected Area in Kiribati, and setting up marine sanctuaries for key species such as whales and sharks. Our island communities have also set up innovative initiatives such as the locally managed marine areas.
However, we are also facing immense challenges and threats from the impacts from both climate change and non-climate change issues including ocean acidification, marine pollution, invasive alien species, to name a few.
Climate change is the biggest threat to our region with enormous implications on our livelihoods, our environment, our island biodiversity and ecosystems, our people and cultures.
I invite you to join us at our SPREP Pacific side event this evening at 6:15pm at the African Group Room at the Sunrise Building.
Thank you."
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