Moon reef spinners.

A monthly update of IUCN news in the Oceania Region: January 2012

Taholo Kami

Bula and Welcome to 2012!

This begins our 6th year as the IUCN Oceania Regional Office and we hit the ground running by playing an instrumental part in convening with the Fiji Government, GIZ and the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Secretariat, the inaugural Environment and Climate Change Ministers meeting for the Melanesian countries (Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the FLKNS of New Caledonia) .  This was a very successful meeting with some strong recommendations to deal with the special needs of the bigger Pacific Island countries which are rated as some of the most important biodiversity hotspots on the planet. We look forward to continuing our support to the MSG countries into the future.


2012 also promises some interesting events for the IUCN family, starting with the first Pacific Islands Species Forum in April to be hosted by the Government of the Solomon Islands. I hope this Forum will raise the profile of the important role and value of species to our Pacific island ecosystems, our communities and our leaders as well as celebrate the important role played by researchers and conservation organizations.


Finally, the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Korea in September is expected to attract 5,000 - 7,000 of the world’s leading conservation practitioners. We will put a special emphasis on assisting Members with preparations for Jeju and look forward to a strong presence from Oceania.


Taholo Kami
Regional Director, IUCN Oceania


New plant discovered in Kadavu, Fiji

A new flowering plant belonging to the Medinilla plant group was recently discovered in the highlands of Matasawalevu village, on the island of Kadavu in Fiji. The plant was found during a biodiversity assessment of the Nakasaleka district carried out as part of IUCN’s Water and Nature Initiative (WANI). The species was found on the border of grassland and primary forest. This location makes it highly vulnerable to bush fires that are common in the area.

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The newly discovered plant
Brendan Mackey and Taholo Kami at the MSG Ministerial Meeting, Nadi, Fiji.

Melanesian Spearhead Group first environment meeting

The first MSG meeting on environment and climate change was held in Nadi on 26-27 January bringing together ministers and senior level officials from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the FLKNS (Kanak Socialist Front for National Liberation) of New Caledonia. This historic meeting, co-organized by IUCN Oceania and partners, is a positive sign for stronger collaboration amongst the Melanesian countries who have the largest land masses in the Pacific Islands - home to a few biodiversity hotspots of the world.


IUCN Regional Councilor Brendan Mackey was part of the IUCN delegation to the meeting and initiated dialogue on 'climate change security'. A few strong recommendations came out of the meeting to deal with special issues in relation to mining, nature-based solutions and climate change. Recommendations from this meeting will be presented at the 18th MSG Summit to be held in Fiji on 28th – 31st March, 2011.

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Cane fields such as this were heavily affected.

Nature can help lessen flood impacts

Natural disasters wreak havoc and affect people, infrastructure and the environment. In response to the recent severe flooding that hit the west of Fiji's main island (Viti Levu), IUCN's Oceania Regional Office urges the government of Fiji and its town councils to strengthen their investment in proper management of forests, mangrove and wetland areas. The impacts of flooding can be minimized if nature's health is kept intact.

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Sa'anapu community mangrove conservation area, Samoa

Pacific Islands Species Forum

In the next two months the Government of Solomon Islands, an IUCN Member, together with IUCN Oceania, the IUCN Species Survival Commission, BirdLife International, SPREP, and the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation (PIRT) will convene the first Pacific Islands Species Forum in Honiara. This forum presents an exciting opportunity for scientists, researchers, policy-makers, and conservation practitioners to share scientific knowledge relating to species research and conservation in the Pacific.


> More details
Children, Vanuatu

Solar power in Vanuatu

In the Pacific Islands, and particularly in Melanesia, access to modern energy services is limited. IUCN is helping remote villages in Vanuatu gain access to clean lighting.  



18th Edition of Policy Matters launched

The 18th edition of the peer-reviewed CEESP Journal Policy Matters was launched at a special function with CEESP Executive Committee members, IUCN Councillors and Secretariat staff in New Delhi, India on 9 November 2011. IUCN DG Julia Marton-Lefevre launched the edition together with PM18 Guest Editor, Alejandro Nadal (Co-Chair of TEMTI) and Aroha Mead, Chair of CEESP. One of the contributing authors, Aseem Shrivastava from India was also present. This special edition of Policy Matters provides case studies in Meso and South America (Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, and India) and focuses on ‘Macroeconomic Policies, Livelihoods and Sustainability’ and will shortly be available for download from the CEESP website.


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New appointments for CEESP

2011 saw the establishment of two new inter-Commission Specialist Groups with SSC (Sustainable Use) and CEL (SPICEH). 


Three new Steering Committee members were appointed to the CEESP Steering Committee late last year. Dr Jayati Goshi-India (TEMTI), Jennifer Mohamed-Katerere-South Africa (TECS) and Mohammad Shahbaz (West Asia) and a new position was created on the Steering Committee; Youth & Inter-generational Advisor. Catie Burlando from Canada and Italy was appointed to this role in November 2011.

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One more in the team

Ifereimi Dau, Energy Programme Officer.

We welcome Mr Ifereimi Dau who joins our Energy Programme this month as Energy Programme Officer. Dau brings with him a wealth of experience in the energy sector having worked in the energy department of the Fiji Government for two years and three years prior to that in the mineral development department. Dau's expertise will provide an added boost to our energy agenda in the Oceania region.Dau can be contacted on


New Role: Programme Support Officer

Fipe Tuitubou

Ms Fipe Tuitubou previously held the position of Temporary Executive Officer to the Regional Director. Contact Fipe at



Continuing term: Temporary Administration Support Officer

Lavinia Tivaknoa

Ms Lavinia Tivaknoa joined the administration team on a temporary basis late last year. Her term has been extended to 2012. La can be contacted at


BIOPAMA's Global Inception Workshop - 20-24 March. Gland, Switzerland.

Oceania Regional Meeting for RAMSAR COP 11 - 26-30 March. Palau.

Pacific Islands Species Forum - 25-25 April. Honiara, Solomon Islands. Registration and Call for Submission of Abstracts is now open. More

World Environment Day - 5 June

12th International Coral Reef Symposium - 9-13 July. Queensland,  Australia.

World Conservation Congress - 6-15 September. Jeju, Korea. More

International River Symposium - 8-11 October. Melbourne, Australia.


At the beginning of this month we bid farewell to  three of our key team members. We immensely value their contributions towards our cause and wish them the very best in their future endeavors:


Ms Anama Solofa

Anama Solofa, IUCN Oceania Interim Pacific Oceans Officer. Held the position of Interim Pacific Oceans Officer.


Mr Sanivalati Navuku

 Held the position of MESCAL Coastal Ecosystem Management Officer.


Ms Rohini Singh

Rohini Singh
Held the position of Assistant Accountant.


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