Suva, Fiji, 28 January 2009 (IUCN) – An agreement signed today between two leading actors in scientific research and action for environment and nature conservation marks a new chapter for conservation and sustainable development in the Pacific islands region. The agreement formalises a long-standing partnership between IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) and promises to strengthen collaborative initiatives for conservation and sustainable development through research, training and teaching.
Globally recognised as the cutting-edge provider of scientifically-sound standards and practices in nature conservation and sustainability, IUCN brings a leadership role in enhancing the skills of community and government decision-makers in the use of economics, law and policy-related tools and processes. The partnership also provides opportunity to mobilise IUCN’s 11,000 member-strong global Commission networks in the Pacific islands region.
USP is the region’s leader in research, teaching and training and has a membership of twelve island states. The partnership strengthens the ability of IUCN and USP to promote leadership in sound and responsible use and management of the limited natural resources of the Pacific islands.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to strengthen the contribution of two premier institutions to building the Pacific’s scientific knowledge base for biodiversity, nature conservation and sustainable development,” says Taholo Kami, Director of IUCN’s Regional Office for Oceania.
“IUCN and USP share a common interest not just in terms of scientific research, but also in economic valuation, governance and developing socially equitable models for conservation. Working with USP, IUCN’s vast network of experts from our various Commissions can help inform innovative models for change.”
Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor of USP, said that the University welcomed this new partnership, and looked forward to interesting, innovative and sustainable solutions to some of the region’s key problems. “USP is making sustainable development one of the pillars of its new strategic plan and will significantly strengthen its capacity to provide high quality education, research and policy support in this vital area. This partnership with IUCN will enable the University to have more significant impact than it would working on its own,” said Professor Chandra.
USP has been a member of IUCN since 1990 and has worked closely with IUCN on a number of conservation initiatives across the region over the past two decades.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations was signed by Taholo Kami and USP’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Rajesh Chandra, at a special ceremony at the USP Laucala Campus on Wednesday 28 January.