Nature Conservation Action for a Resilient Pacific

The theme for the conference is Nature Conservation Action for a Resilient Pacific, with effective conservation and management of biodiversity critical for ensuring Pacific island countries and territories are resilient and adaptable to a changing world. The Pacific Islands’ rich biodiversity and valuable ecosystem services also underpin tourism, agriculture, forestry and fisheries; the food, livelihoods, health and water security of communities; and is key to providing resilience and viable adaptation responses to changing climates and environment.

The decline in biodiversity across the Pacific continues at an alarming rate and contributes to high levels of loss globally. The Pacific still faces alarming rates of habitat degradation and loss that could exceed irreversible thresholds, challenging the resilience of many species and ecosystems, including mangroves and terrestrial forests driven by a range of development pressures. This compounds the impacts on coral reefs that are already declining as a result of climate change, reefs that are vital for food security, livelihoods, tourism and coastal protection.  These risks are exacerbated by the acceleration of trade and human migrations leading to increased risk of native species being replaced by invasive alien species. The conference theme highlights the need for urgent and real action now, and the need to think beyond what we are currently doing and to the needs of future generations. 

The conference will explore the following thematic streams:

  1. People and nature conservation action

  2. Economic development and biodiversity conservation

  3. Safeguarding priority sites, including cultural heritage

  4. Safeguarding species and genetic diversity

  5. Threats to biodiversity

  6. Monitoring, governing and financing nature conservation action

Through these key themes we tell the story of the conference.  Additionally, 3 cross-cutting themes: islands, ocean, and traditional knowledge are woven through the thematic streams.

Our oceans, the foundation of life in the Pacific Islands, and a cross-cutting theme throughout the Conference, represent a more recent urgent set of conservation challenges including marine ocean plastics and pollution, unsustainable fishing, ocean acidification, increasing sea-temperatures and levels and new extractive industries such as deep-sea mining.

The rich cultures of Pacific peoples and their understanding of the natural world provide an opportunity to bring together traditional and scientific knowledge to find cutting-edge effective solutions.  The importance of traditional and local knowledge in the protection and sustainable management of nature is presented as a cross-cutting theme throughout the conference.

The year 2020, marks the end of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity and the associated Aichi Targets.  Progress has been made in some areas, but many targets remain unachieved for the Pacific region, and globally.  A ‘business as usual’ approach is not acceptable and the pressure is on to mobilise change and implement actions to address the urgent challenges facing nature conservation in the region and setting a Pacific initiated agenda, targets and commitments for nature conservation beyond 2020.

The 10th Pacific Islands Conference for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas provides an opportune time to bring together the diverse stakeholders to develop a Pacific initiated agenda for 2020 and beyond which will then be voiced at the significant events of 2020 including the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille, France in June 2020, and culminating to providing inputs into the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in China in October 2020.