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Island and Ocean Ecosystems

8 November, 2023 – The Pacific Invasive Learning Network (PILN) will reconvene with the 5th PILN Meeting scheduled to take place in Samoa from November 13 to 17, 2023. This event will bring together over 50 invasive species professionals and practitioners from across the Pacific region to share and celebrate their successes and challenges, and to address critical issues related to invasive species management.

Hosted by the Pacific Regional Invasive Species Management Support Service (PRISMSS) at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), this meeting also marks a significant milestone as it reunites the network members after a seven year hiatus, primarily due to the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The primary objective of the meeting is to re-establish connections among members, inspire collaborative efforts, and raise awareness about the extensive support services provided by PRISMSS to Pacific Island Countries and Territories. 

"Over the past few years, the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have had a significant impact on our networking activities and on-the-ground management efforts. This upcoming PILN Meeting is a great opportunity to rebuild and strengthen our network. It's also about ensuring that all participants understand how PRISMSS can serve them through a range of programmes and support services” said SPREP Invasive Species Adviser, Mr. David Moverley.

“Through our latest initiative PRISMSS - Restoring Island Resilience project, funded by the New Zealand Government, we will expand the five PRISMSS invasive species management programmes, further enhancing our ability to serve and support Pacific countries and territories in their invasive species management efforts.” 

PRISMSS, founded in 2019, is a coordinating mechanism specifically designed to scale up on-the-ground operational prevention and management of invasive species in the Pacific region. It was established in response to the gaps identified by national PILN team members from the collection of the annual regional Pacific Invasive Species Indicators (PISI) by SPREP. The PISI has indicated since 2015 that critical on-the-ground action was limited throughout the region.

The meeting will introduce the PRISMSS Navigator System, a user-friendly online platform designed to streamline requests for assistance from PRISMSS. The platform will facilitate the interaction between users and the correct PRISMSS programme for their request and assistance, making it easier for Members to access PRISMSS services and information pertaining to invasive species capability and progress within their country or territory.

Another highlight of this year's PILN meeting will be the celebration of the "Battler of the Year" award, which recognizes the dedication and commitment of Invasive Species Battlers from the Pacific region. This recognition previously announced virtually, will be celebrated in person for the first time during the fifth PILN meeting at the opening event. 

"PRISMSS is a Pacific led service to assist the Pacific, including the PILN, and we hope that PILN members leave the meeting with the understanding that PRISMSS was created to meet the gaps that they identified over the years” said SPREP GEF6 Regional Invasive Species Coordinator, Josef Pisi.

“The meeting is also a great opportunity to recognize the achievements of PILN members and share success stories with each other. We are looking forward to celebrating the 'Battler of the Year 2023' Award Winner, as well as formally acknowledging our previous Battler of the Year winners since 2017. Previously we celebrated their successes digitally through our Battler Lounge Series and PILN Soundbite newsletters but celebrating these Battlers in person amongst the regional IS community takes it to a whole new level and I believe it will serve as a powerful motivator for other Battlers to strive for excellence in their countries which only strengthens our mission.” 

The Pacific Invasive Learning Network (PILN) connects Pacific professionals and practitioners to share knowledge, expertise, tools, and ideas that are vital to managing invasive species effectively. PILN enables multi-disciplinary country teams to work together on strategies with critical input from other national teams and experts from throughout the region, resulting in a common vision and a plan for effective conservation action. National PILN Teams bring together national agencies responsible for invasive species management, including those responsible for agriculture, natural resource management, international trade and border control, as well as environment and conservation.

The fifth PILN Meeting is made possible with funding support from the Global Environment Facility funded GEF 6 Regional Invasives Project, the European Union funded PROTEGE project, the New Zealand Government funded Managing Invasive Species for Climate Change Adaptation in the Pacific (MISCCAP) project, and the Government of France through a FONDS Pacifique grant focused on regional cooperation.

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