Suva, Fiji, 09 March 2018 (IUCN) – Reminiscing the adventures of growing up around mangrove forests in Fiji, Fiji's Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), Ambassador Peter Thompson, who is also serving as the UN Special Envoy for Oceans, shared opening remarks with participants of the Mangrove Ecosystems for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction workshop, held from 5-8 March in Suva, Fiji. He especially emphasised the need for action, stating “…enough with the talk…start implementing”. (See video: https://youtu.be/MJTcjUK5KWI)
The workshop was hosted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as part of its 70th anniversary celebrations in 2018. The Global Island Partnership (GLISPA), IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM) and Mangroves for the Future (MFF) co-hosted the event. Participants discussed opportunities for moving beyond pilot initiatives and doing mangrove conservation as well as restoration at larger scales. Governments of Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu and IUCN exchanged knowledge and experiences with MFF, including country experiences from India and Pakistan.
MFF is a large scale initiative on mangrove restoration that was established following the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami across 11 countries in the Asia region, and now in its 12th year of implementation. The five Pacific Island countries benefited greatly from the experiences shared by MFF Programme Coordinator, Steen Christensen, representative from India, Dr. V. Selvam, Executive Director at M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), and Dr. Tahir Qureshi, Senior Advisor Coastal Ecosystem, IUCN Pakistan. Additionally, IUCN’s Director of Global Ecosystem Management Programme, Radhika Murti, shared information on the evolving work with Nature based Solutions for Societal Challenge, an approach that aims to encapsulate as well as scale up contributions of conservation actions to human well-being and livelihoods.
The workshop included a field trip to the My Suva Park to study mangrove ecosystems in the Suva area. Participants greatly appreciated the facilities of the My Suva Park, its natural beauty and tranquility. “Such initiatives are great examples of how green spaces can be integrated into urban landscapes, as a win-win solution for people and nature to co-exist, as My Suva Park supports the protection and restoration of mangroves on the Suva foreshore” according to Kabure Takaria, Biodiversity Conservation Officer, Kiribati Environment and Conservation Division, Ministry of Environment, Lands & Agriculture Development.
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