This theme focusses on conservation areas within the Pacific islands, which come in many forms from formally gazetted protected areas and World Heritage areas, to species specific management areas, and locally community managed areas.  All can act as a planning and management tool that enables the coordination of conservation and resources management within sites, habitats and ecosystems, including cultural sites.  For these areas to be relevant, however, their purpose must be clearly defined from the very beginning in consultation with local communities.  In the Pacific, the management structure and purpose of conservation areas are highly diverse, and their effectiveness depends on many factors.

Pressures on natural habitats are increasing, multiplying and intensifying and in this context, conservation areas must evolve to address future challenges.

Challenges include limited resourcing, both financial and human, for management of conservation networks, which links directly to biodiversity often not being valued and prioritised.  Sustainable financing and alternative livelihoods options for communities and Government’s needs to be investigated and implimented.  There is also a lack of awareness and capacity specifically around cultural sites including assessment.

The conference will look to explore a range of examples, principles and best practice approaches that have been successful or unsuccessful, have challenged and caused change, and that are sensitive to Pacific cultures and traditions.  Through debate and discussion, concrete case studies and inspiring experiences of best practice, lessons learned, and innovative, practical solutions for the future, the conference will then look to identify how conservation areas must evolve to address future challenges, taking into account the specifics context of the region.

Stakeholders include governments, communities, non-government agencies, regional agencies, private sector, civil society, and research agencies.

Key questions exist around how to recognise community management without hindering through formal gazettal processes; how to strengthen link between conservation areas as a effective tool for managing other priority environmental issues; what do we need to safeguard for the future;  what should be the new target for pacific conservation areas beyond 2020 – how ambitious do we need to be?;  how do we integrate modern methods of Protected Area management and Pacific island traditional approaches/knowledge; How do we secure sustainable financing for long term conservation area management beyond traditional sources of assistance.

Links:

  • Identify, conserve, sustainably manage and restore priority sites, habitats and ecosystems, including cultural sites - Objective 3 -Framework for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas in the Pacific Islands 2014-2020

  • Aichi Biodiversity Target 5,6,7,11,14,15, and 18 - Convention on Biological Diversity