Focussing on people and the environment including mainstreaming, and awareness raising, of the value of biodiversity and the steps that can be taken to conserve and use it sustainably. However, following years of awareness raising, and the fact that the rate of biodiversity continues to decline along with environmental degradation, means there is an urgent need to move people from awareness to real action!

People, awareness and action are particularly important in the Pacific islands where the majority of land and coastal resources are owned and managed under customary land tenure.  This provides both opportunities and challenges for how to approach implimenting actions necessary to halt the decline in biodiversity.

The challenges revolve around the fact that awareness does not necessarily lead to a change in human behaviour.  We have the necessary technology, plans and evidence, but need to drive real action and ownership.  There is a need to get buy-in from individuals in the community through to Government leaders; and to convince them of the need for action and to act!  Technical information sometimes fails to be communicated to decision makers in understandable language. There is a challenge in recognising the true value of biodiversity and ecosystem services in monetary terms, and against competing priorities, short term visions, and economic drivers.

The Pacific islands have a unique opportunity in being able to draw upon traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities relevant for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. 

The conference will explore a range of examples, principles and best practice approaches that have been successful, have challenged and caused change, and that are sensitive to Pacific cultures and traditions.  Analysis will focus on what has worked and lessons learnt, and challenges faced.  However, what is the approach for the future to drive behavioural change, ownership of actions and to inspire an environment valued approach to development and biodiversity and ecosystem services?

Stakeholders involved in this thematic are diverse and rang from society as a whole, to schools, youth, communities, decision makers, consumers, non-government agencies, community leaders, church groups, and industry.  The links between nature and people leaves no-one out.

Some key questions to investigate include how do we get people to move from awareness to action?  What are the win-win models for engaging people in conservation?  What does successful conservation action actually look like? What are opportunities and innovations available for utilising traditional and western knowledge together? What alternative livelihood or site financing options can support protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services? What is the role and opportunities for youth, gender and traditional and local knowledge in solving these challenges?

Links:

People are aware of the value of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably - Objective 1 -Framework for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas in the Pacific Islands 2014-2020

Aichi Biodiversity Targets 1 and 18 -  Convention on Biological Diversity