12 December 2022, Montreal Canada - The important role of the Pacific Islands Framework for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas 2021-2025, in efforts to conserve the Pacific’s unique biodiversity, has been highlighted on the global stage at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) in Montreal, Canada.
The Framework was one of several regional initiatives supported by the multi-year, multi-region, multi-partnership Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Multilateral Environmental Agreements (ACP-MEAs) programme, making a positive difference in the lives of the Pacific communities.
It was highlighted during a panel discussion organised by the ACP MEAs 3 programme and its partners at COP15 to present key activities and initiatives being undertaken in Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific to support the CBD and the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and related targets, being negotiated.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)’s Director of Island and Ocean Ecosystems, Mr Stuart Chape was one of the speakers during the panel, which also featured representatives from the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). SPREP hosts the Pacific Hub of the ACP MEAs 3 Programme, in the Secretariat’s Environmental Monitoring and Governance Programme.
“The Pacific Islands Framework for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas 2021-2025 is the principal regional strategy for environmental conservation in the Pacific,” Mr Chape said. “It identifies regional key priorities for action therefore it is critical to ensure regional frameworks link and align to the agreed post-2020 GBF when adopted.”
The Regional Dialogue on Traditional Knowledge for Biodiversity and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Pacific, which was held in May to discuss the inclusion of traditional knowledge associated to genetic resources in national policies, was highlighted. During the meeting, the Regional Guidelines on Access and Benefit Sharing, which is the first set of guidelines to support Pacific member countries in the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol, was launched.
“The guidelines are a very important step for the Pacific,” said Mr Chape. “The guidelines aim to address challenges such as lengthy legal processes, requirements of ratification, complexity associated with stakeholder consultations, lack of inventory of genetic resources and lack of knowledge on the potential economic and commercial value, as well as limited capacity in negotiations of mutually agreed terms.”
Other ACP-MEAs-supported initiatives highlighted during the side event include the Pacific Regional Marine Species Action Programme, launched to provide strategic guidance for SPREP member countries and partners on priorities for the protection of cetaceans, seabirds, dugongs, marine turtles and whales and dolphins, the Comparative Analysis of Protected Area Management Effectiveness (PAME) evaluation tool and the ACP MEA Pacific Hub support for the BBNJ negotiations and 2nd UN Ocean Conference (UNOC) 2022.
In the lead up to COP15, the ACP-MEAs3 project also supported country participation to the preparatory meeting held in Fiji, empowering Pacific delegates to advocate and amplify our Pacific voice on national and regional priorities during the ongoing negotiations.
Said Mr Chape: “The Pacific countries are here at COP 15 with a very strong message. Firstly, it is of critical importance for the Pacific islands region to have an effective and coherent Global Biodiversity Framework that reflects the needs of Pacific island nations and conserving their unique biodiversity.
“The Pacific islands face unique conditions in the effort to manage biodiversity and conservation, thanks in large part to our geographic situation, limited land and vast ocean spaces. To address this, Pacific islands need investments in capacity to manage and monitor the status of biodiversity and of human actions influencing biodiversity.
“We also want to state clearly that healthy ocean biodiversity is a Pacific islands national and regional priority and should also be a global priority.”
The ACP MEAs is an ACP-EU partnership programme which begun in March 2009 as an initiative of the European Commission to address challenging environmental issues through the implementation of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) in the African, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) regions. The programme is currently in its third phase of implementation, aiming to assist the ACP countries to implement the MEAs related to biodiversity (CITES, CMS and CBD) and chemicals and waste (Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm and Minamata Conventions) and deal with issues of Ocean/Seas governance (through the Regional Seas conventions, i.e. Abidjan, Nairobi, Cartagena and Noumea Conventions).
The Fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) is held in Montreal, Canada from 7 – 19 December 2022. Chaired by the Government of China, the CBD COP15 will result in a new Global Biodiversity Framework that will continue the 2020 Biodiversity Targets with the global goal of halting biodiversity loss.
Fourteen Pacific Islands countries are Party to the CBD. They are contributing to a unified One Pacific Voice on collective issues at COP15. The countries present in Montreal are the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Led by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), support to Pacific island countries has been implemented with technical input through the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation (PIRT), and includes a One Pacific approach involving support from the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner, and the Pacific Community at COP15 with financial assistance from the Government of Australia and the ACP MEA Phase 3 Project funded by the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States for the ACP countries.
For more information on the CBD COP15 please visit: https://www.cbd.int/conferences/2021-2022 or email [email protected]