To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pacific Islands Roundtable Conference on nature conservation and protected areas set for PNG next week

The 8th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas, with the over-arching theme "Conservation serving Communities in a rapidly changing world" will start on Monday next week and run until 26 October in Alotau, Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea.

The conference theme highlights the inextricable link between Pacific Islanders and the natural environment; people and the sustainable use of natural resources to conserve the unique Pacific environment.

It is understood the Conference is a key regional meeting of government agencies, NGOs, community based organizations, and donor bodies to discuss and develop a joint vision for conservation in the Pacific islands.

The regional conference occurs every five years after its inception in 1977 by SPREP(then a programme within the South Pacific Commission) with the support of partner organizations including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and IUCN, organized the first region-wide forum for discussing nature conservation issues of interest to the Pacific Islands.

The 6th of this series of conferences was held in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia in 1997. It was organized around the theme “Tools for Conservation” and it brought together more than 150 delegates from all levels of civil society including regional and international organisations. Community leaders, scientists, policy makers, donor representatives, NGOs and government representatives interacted and shared experiences, lessons learnt and best practices for achieving nature conservation objectives.

The 7th conference was held in Rarotonga, Cook Islands in 2002. More than 330 people attended and the conference theme of “Mainstreaming Nature Conservation” reflected a desire by the conservation community to work with a broader group of stakeholders to achieve conservation outcomes. This was envisioned as the private sector, churches and the tourism industry to name a few. This conference led to the current iteration of the regional Action Strategy for Nature Conservation 2003 – 2007.

During the 7th conference, Papua New Guinea volunteered and was unanimously supported to host the 8th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas in 2007.

This conference is coordinated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

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