Pacific youths geared up for IMPAC5
Youths play important leadership roles in ocean conservation and the protection of marine areas. From the IUCN Congress in Marseilles to the more recent United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal, young professionals are mobilising and taking action to protect the world's oceans.
Young people will make up approximately one-third of all participants at the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5). Their perspectives will help shape the thematic discussions that will take place at the Congress in Vancouver from 3-9 February 2023.
IMPAC5 aims to provide an opportunity for the global community of marine conservation managers, practitioners, and decision-makers to exchange knowledge, experience, and best practices to strengthen marine biodiversity conservation and protect the ocean's natural and cultural heritage.
From the Pacific, six individuals have been selected to participate in IMPAC5 through financial support from the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) Programme, the IMPAC1 Organising Committee, IUCN Oceania and Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
"The threat posed by climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution to our Pacific Blue Continent cannot be overemphasized and the upcoming IMPAC5 meeting in Canada is another opportunity for the Pacific community, led by our young professionals and the IUCN Oceania technical team, to press home the need for greater and easier access to conservation financing for Nature-based solutions that will protect and conserve our Pacific Ocean and the critical ecosystem services it provides and more importantly build the resilience of our Pacific Communities. I look forward to the outcomes of IMPAC5 to see how best IUCN Oceania can contribute to a just Pacific that values and conserves nature.", Mason Smith, Regional Director for IUCN Oceania said.
The young professionals attending the Congress are Lisa Burn and Yvonne Wong (Papua New Guinea, PNG), Nicole Yamase (Federated States of Micronesia, FSM), Tavailau Segi (Samoa), Alanna Smith (Cook Islands), Ulamila Matairakula (Fiji).
"IMPAC 5 is a great opportunity for a young professional like me in the field of Marine Protected Areas to learn from and share with the global community lessons on marine conservation…The knowledge and experience gained from this Congress will benefit young professionals like me and help us better understand our issues/challenges and how best we can approach them in our own countries, " said Lisa Burn of PNG.
"I am excited to explore the ways I can contribute to protecting our marine resources across the globe, especially in the Pacific region. I am looking forward to learning how to integrate my scientific background with policy while embracing my cultural heritage as a Micronesian", Nicole Yamase of FSM expressed.
"Attending this conference is vital as I look forward to building international connections, meeting other professionals, and learning new concepts, ideas, and how technology can enhance and benefit MPA monitoring. I hope that through this learning, I can strengthen conservation and management approaches in PNG", mentioned Yvonne Wong of PNG.
"As Polynesians, our oceans mean so much to us. They provide us with food and help keep our planet cool. We are all connected by our oceans and need to work together to ensure our life source remains healthy for future generations.
IMPAC5 provides a valuable opportunity to connect with like-minded youth and conservationists, supporting future networks that will have our oceans' best intentions at heart. We are the future, and we want to ensure our actions today do not jeopardize our future", Alanna Smith of Cook Islands highlighted.
"Participating in the IMPAC5 Congress will be a great learning opportunity, especially since it's specifically targeting conservation areas and the role of Indigenous people in conservation… I'm looking forward to learning more, specifically grasping new ideas on remote sensing to enhance marine conservation areas. I appreciate the donors' financial support and making it possible for me to attend the IMPAC5 Congress and build the network to better conservation efforts", said Tavailau Segi of Samoa.
"I look forward to meeting other indigenous peoples and cultures to share, learn, and collaborate on indigenous leadership preservation and ocean conservation, primarily marine protected areas, because this is a global effort. I aim to integrate my IMPAC5 learnings with our current and future programs to build resilient and sustainable indigenous communities", Ulamila Matairakula of Fiji shared.
The IMPAC5 will bring together ocean conservation professionals to chart a course toward protecting 30% of the global ocean by 2030. It is an opportunity for the global community of marine conservation managers, practitioners, and decision-makers to exchange knowledge, experience, and best practices to strengthen marine biodiversity conservation and protect the ocean's natural and cultural heritage.