30 October 2023: The New Zealand government has moved to strengthen the Pacific's environmental resilience, by committing NZD 20.6 Million for the Pacific Regional Invasive Species Management Support Service (PRISMSS) to support the implementation of the Restoring Island Resilience (RIR) Project.
PRISMSS, led by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is a regional mechanism that facilitates the scaling up of invasive species management for biodiversity protection in the Pacific in collaboration with leading organizations. It also supports countries and communities with resources to take action against invasive species threats to their island ecosystems and resilience.
The funding arrangement was officially signed between SPREP and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (NZMFAT) in June 2023. The main aim of the PRISMSS- Restoring Island Resilience project is to improve the livelihoods and climate change resilience of Pacific Island countries and Territories (PICTS) by reducing the impact of invasive species on their natural and agricultural ecosystems.
The PRISMSS-RIR project builds on the foundational work previously funded by NZMFAT through the Managing Invasive Species for Climate Change Adaptation in the Pacific (MISCCAP) project. The MISCCAP project, set to conclude in June 2024, laid the essential groundwork, paving the way for the upcoming efforts.
The funding will also focus on developing PRISMSS and expanding its five invasive species management programmes throughout the region;
• Protect our Islands – Prevent the arrival, establishment and spread of invasive species
• Predator Free Pacific – Removal of invasive mammalian predators from islands
• War on Weeds – Management of high priority weeds
• Natural Enemies, Natural Solutions – Biological control of widespread weeds
• Resilient Ecosystems, Resilient Communities – Priority area ecological restoration
SPREP Invasive Species Adviser, Mr. David Moverley said the generous support from the New Zealand government will be instrumental in continuing the vital work PRISMSS does along with Pacific members and other significant donors to strengthening the foundations of a bio diverse and resilient Pacific.
“Receiving this funding support not only underscores the importance of our mission but it also demonstrates the ongoing willingness and commitment of the New Zealand government to improving the livelihoods and resilience of Pacific Island communities” said Mr. Moverley. “Through the PRISMSS- Restoring Island Resilience project, we are not only addressing immediate environmental threats but are also investing in the long-term resilience and health of our island ecosystems and communities to the growing impacts of climate change. Collaborative ventures like this set a precedent for what we can achieve when nations come together to safeguard our shared environment."
Invasive species such as rats, wild pigs and invasive plants are the leading driver of bio-diversity loss in the Pacific, not only do they outcompete native species but they also harm crops and intensify ecosystem degradation. This further increases the susceptibility of Pacific communities to the devastating effects of climate change and natural disasters.
The Pacific Regional Invasive Species Management Support Services (PRISMSS) was launched by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in 2019. PRISMSS is dedicated to enhancing the collective efforts of Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) in addressing the threat of invasive species to biodiversity and ecosystems in the Pacific region.
With a focus on knowledge-sharing, technical support, capacity-building, and strategic coordination, PRISMSS strives to strengthen and increase the region's response to invasive species, ultimately leading to improved livelihoods and more resilient ecosystems across the Pacific.