The Pacific Islands Round Table for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas (PIRT) and its Members are celebrating 22 years of efforts to conserve Pacific island environments and resources.
This year’s meeting, held from 29 to 30 July in Suva, Fiji focussed on preparations for next year which marks the end of the decade on Biodiversity of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
“This provides significant opportunities for the Pacific Island region to provide input and direction for conservation beyond 2020, including voicing the urgency and need for a paradigm shift in order to stop the decline in biodiversity which underpins life as we know it,” said Mr Stuart Chape, PIRT Secretariat and Deputy Director General at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
PIRT was established in 1998 at the request of Pacific island countries and territories as voiced during the 6th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas in 1997. The forum enables those organisations working on nature conservation in the Pacific to improve their collaboration and coordination towards effective conservation action.
“PIRT brings together a wide range of agencies working on nature conservation in our region. This meeting provides the opportunity to connect, collaborate, and plan for the future in order to efficiently support the priorities of Pacific islands,” explains Ms Amanda Wheatley, PIRT Secretariat and Biodiversity Officer at SPREP.
“The theme for this year’s annual meeting was, ‘Pacific Island preparation for the journey beyond 2020,’ and looks to identify how PIRT members may assist Pacific island countries and territories to have a strong voice to communicate the priorities and actions needed for the region to address the urgent need to halt biodiversity decline.”
“2020 is a super-year for the environment - for conservation and for biodiversity and the decisions we make today will guide our plans and preparations not only for the 10th Pacific Island Conference on Nature Conservation in New Caledonia in April 2020, but also other international fora such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress in Marseille in June 2020, and the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) Conference of the Parties (COP) 15 in China in November 2020,” stated Mr Mason Smith, Chair of PIRT and Regional Director of IUCN-Oceania Regional Office.
PIRT provides a framework and drives action through its working groups, which meet yearly on more specific topics and then report back to the annual meeting. The four main working groups are the Pacific Invasive Partnership, the Protected Areas Working Group, the Species Working Group and the Pacific Network for Environmental Law.
In connection with PIRT is the 10th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas which has been held nearly every five years since 1975. At this conference government agencies, NGOs, community based organisations, donor agencies and expatriates concerned with conservation science and practice in the Pacific islands region can meet to discuss the agenda for the next few years.
The 10th Pacific Island Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas is to be held in Noumea, New Caledonia at the Tjibaou Cultural Centre from 20-24th April 2020.
PIRT was established in 1997, and up to today, 12 organisations have signed the Membership Agreement: Conservation International, IUCN, Society for Conservation Biology Oceania, SeaWeb, SPREP, the Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society of Fiji, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the University of the South Pacific (USP), Birdlife International, the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and Protected Areas Learning and Research Collaborative (PALRC).
The Pacific Islands Round Table for Nature Conservation (PIRT) is a coalition of nature conservation and development organisations, governments, inter-governmental agencies, donor agencies and community groups created to increase effective conservation action in the Pacific islands region. PIRT is the key coordination mechanism for the implementation of the new Framework for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas in the Pacific Islands region 2014–2020 which was adopted at the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas, and was subsequently endorsed at the 25th Annual SPREP Meeting in September 2014. Currently, IUCN is the Chair and SPREP is the Secretariat of PIRT.
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