Solomon Islands Hosts Environment Gathering

29 June 2009 | International news release

Pacific Island nature conservation partners are meeting this week in Honiara to help progress implementation of the region’s nature conservation objectives. The 12th meeting of the Roundtable for Nature Conservation was officially opened by the Honourable Mr Gordon Lilo Darcy, Minister for Environment, Conservation and Meteorology.

The Honourable Darcy welcomed the Roundtable members and stressed the importance of governments and non-governmental organisations working together to address critical environment and development needs in countries.

The Roundtable is a group of conservation organisations working throughout the Pacific islands region. It provides a forum to ensure coordination, accountability and transparency in implementing conservation and environment activities in the region. In 2008, Roundtable members signed a Charter committing them to more effective engagement with countries and communities in implementing all their activities.

Addressing environmental issues in the region has never been more critical.

“Our Pacific Island countries currently face environment, economic, trade and social crossroads and challenges arising from our growing population, unregulated development and political instability,” said the Honourable Minister. “We know what needs to be done and we must strike while the iron is hot.”

Taholo Kami, current Chair of the Roundtable and Director of the Suva-based IUCN Regional Office for Oceania, noted that the climate and financial crisis has raised the importance of nature as essential to national development priorities and plans.

“Nature conservation must become priority in our development agenda if Pacific islanders are to survive the climate and financial crisis,” he said.

“There can be no sustainable growth without a healthy environment,” said Ana Tiraa, Island Biodiversity Officer at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). “In the Pacific, we must invest now in the long term health of our natural environment if we hope to ensure healthy economies for our people.”

The Nature Conservation Roundtable will spend this week developing a clear path for assisting countries realise their conservation goals.

“Members of the Roundtable are committed to working in the interests of countries and supporting the implementation of national environment strategies” said Kami. “To make it work at the national level, NGOs, governments and communities must come together to ensure that the environment remains an essential of all development and economic activities.”

For further information, or to arrange specific interviews, please contact:
Etika Rupeni
Roundtable Coordinator
Etika.Rupeni@fspi.org.fj
Mb: (in Honiara) +677 95228 (in Suva) +679 923 1113