Suva, Fiji. Thursday 6 November, 2008 (IUCN) - The world’s largest international environmental network, IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature, was today officially recognised as an International Organisation in Fiji. The Republic of Fiji’s interim Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Civil Aviation, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, today signed an agreement with IUCN, formally establishing the IUCN Oceania Regional Office, which will serve as the regional hub for Oceania, which includes the Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand.
The Oceania Regional Office has been established in collaboration with the National Trust of Fiji, which has provided support to host the new office in Suva. The National Trust has been a member of IUCN since 1972 and was instrumental in facilitating the establishment of the IUCN Oceania Regional Office in Fiji.
“The signing of the host country agreement demonstrates Fiji’s leadership and commitment to nature conservation and sustainable development in the region,” says Taholo Kami, Director for the IUCN Oceania Regional Office. “This partnership will further strengthen efforts towards addressing critical environmental and sustainable development challenges such as water management, developing environmentally sustainable energy alternatives and adaptation to the impacts of climate change.”
“The establishment of the IUCN office in Suva is timely given the immense challenge faced by regional countries in the area of developing sustainable energy alternatives as well as devising adaptation programmes to mitigate the effects of climate change,” said Commodore Bainimarama.
IUCN is the world’s only membership-based institution that brings together governments, non-government organisations, scientists, academics and economists to develop solutions to the planet’s most pressing conservation issues. The establishment of an IUCN Oceania Regional Office will significantly enhance access by Pacific island countries to technical and scientific expertise in conservation-related issues. It will also serve to facilitate coordination of IUCN’s activities in Oceania and with its global programme. Currently, the majority of IUCN’s Oceania membership hails from Australia and New Zealand with only four Pacific island organisational members. Membership in IUCN enables governments and NGOs to participate in determining the organisation’s priorities and programme of work and to harness the extensive expertise provided by IUCN’s various Commissions.
”IUCN looks forward to a long and fruitful relationship with Fiji and to welcoming the nation into IUCN as the first Pacific Island state member, along with current Oceania state members, Australia and New Zealand, ” says Kami.