The theme and title 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 regional challenges and priorities across 3 thematic streams:
OUR CONNECTION WITH NATURE
In each thematic stream and transversely, a limited number of areas that need urgent and real action, are prioritized as topics for the parallel sessions. These priority topics are called action tracks, and refer to a path towards the objectives of the new Framework for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas and respond to a challenge, or challenges, that are identified in the State of Environment and Conservation in the Pacific Islands: 2020 Regional Report. Each Action Track will have one session in 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 2020/2021 including the IUCN World Conservation Congress, and culminating to providing inputs into the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).