Melanesian leaders make serious commitment for nature and climate change

IUCN applauds the recent Declaration by Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) leaders to move forward with more serious steps on environment and climate change issues. The Declaration on Environment and Climate Change, signed by the Prime Ministers of Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and the Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak Socialiste (FLNKS), is a result of discussions at the first Climate Change and Environment MSG meeting held in January in Nadi, Fiji.


Nacula, Yasawa Islands, Fiji Photo: IUCNJames Dalton

The Declaration outlines several big commitments which the Melanesian countries will pursue. The Melanesia Blue Carbon Initiative which will develop a strategy as well as inform decision makers on the important roles of mangroves, wetlands, coastal swamps and sea grass beds. The Melanesia Terrestrial Commitment aims both to sustainably manage terrestrial ecosystems in government decision-making, and strengthen local communities in sustainably managing their natural resources and with the economic benefits this can bring. Thirdly, a Framework for Green Growth has been adopted as the basis for all development. The implementation framework will be developed for the MSG countries for Rio+20.

Noting the increasing pressures on the sustainability of offshore fisheries across Melanesia, the leaders agreed to develop a roadmap for the protection of both inshore and offshore fisheries. This comes after recommendations by the Offshore Fisheries Working Group of the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation.

Furthermore the leaders have agreed to form an Environment and Climate Change Unit, supported by a Technical Advisory Group, within the MSG Secretariat.

IUCN and GIZ sponsored and provided technical support to the MSG Secretariat to host the initial MSG Environment and Climate Change Ministers Meeting in January with SPREP, SPC-SOPAC and UNESCAP.

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