Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cook Islands Marine Park Announced

The new Cook Islands Marine Park was announced by the Cook Islands Prime Minister at the opening of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting last month. The Marine Park comprises the southern half of our Exclusive Economic Zone from 15 degrees south and encompasses one atoll and eight islands with fringing coral reefs. It also includes over 1 million km2 of deep ocean with a number of seamounts that may be significant in terms of biodiversity and/or abundance of marine life. The legal designation of the Marine Park will follow island consultations, a legal analysis of existing legislation and a legislative process.
“The announcement is just the beginning of a long process to determine the zonation of activities in the Marine Park,” says Jacqui Evans of Te Ipukarea Society. “Where can certain activities occur in the area? Where will some activities be prohibited? How do we make marine protection effective?” says Jacqui.
A Marine Park Steering Committee, established and chaired by the Office of the Prime Minister, comprises government agencies, traditional leaders and Te Ipukarea Society. The committee will assist with the legal designation of the Marine Park and will help to address issues surrounding its management.
The Marine Park Steering Committee are currently putting together a national work plan and budget to guide what needs to be done over the next three years to make the Marine Park effective.

TIS meets with the Big Ocean Network

TIS representatives at the IUCN World Conservation Congress attended a workshop with Big Ocean: A network of the World’s Large Scale Marine Managed Areas last month. 
Big Ocean is made up of member sites, represented by managers and partners, and provides support to other existing and proposed large-scale marine managed areas and site partners through peer-learning opportunities. 
 The workshop entitled “The Role of Partnerships and Size in Scaling Up Marine Protection Efforts Across the Globe,” was organized and hosted jointly by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Big Ocean, Conservation International and the New England Aquarium. 
The aim of the workshop was to use discussions to inform and guide the development of practical management guidance on large-scale marine protected areas. 

TIS Motion on Seabed Mining Passed at the IUCN World Conservation Congress

TIS submitted a motion on seabed mining to the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Korea last month.
The final motion was entitled “Protection of the deep ocean ecosystem & biodiversity from the threats of sea bed mining”  
Co-sponsors (supporters) of the TIS motion were: Tonga Community Development Trust, University of the South Pacific, National Trust of Fiji Islands, Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Inc., The Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ Inc and the Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales
The motion was accepted by the Resolution Working Group and was merged with a similar motion submitted by Agence des Aires Marines Protégées – France. In the end, the scope of motion went from Pacific Ocean to include all ocean ecosystems.  The motion was passed with support from Government members  (95.5% voted yes) and NGO members (99.56% voted yes).

Learning About Deep Sea Mining

TIS Executive Member Teina MacKenzie attended a workshop in Fiji in August to learn about the geological, technical, biological and environmental aspects of deep sea minerals last month.
The workshop is part of the Deep Sea Minerals Project implemented by SPC and funded by the European Union.
During previous regional workshops and national stakeholder consultation meetings in the 15 Pacific Islands countries participating in the project, SPC learnt that the capacity to effectively regulate and facilitate meaningful participation of Pacific ACP States in the deep sea minerals industry is lacking.
Therefore this workshop was developed to enhance knowledge through:
(1) delivery of appropriate lecture materials; (2) showing  videos and graphics related to each topic; (3) active participation and interactive discussions during the workshop; (4) short tests or exercises to gauge the level of knowledge of each participant; and (5) provision of relevant training materials to each participant (i.e. reports, handouts, power point presentations, and video clips).
Further workshops are expected to cover financial, environmental and social aspects of deep sea minerals.

Ana Tiraa voted as IUCN Global Councillor

TIS Executive member Ana Tiraa was voted to the IUCN Global Council at the World Conservation Congress. Ana has worked in conservation in the Pacific region for more than 20 years.
“I believe that conservation is about managing people's actions, and this is the key to achieving good outcomes,” says  Ana in her speech in Jeju.
“As the largest of the world's oceans, the Pacific Ocean is vital to the survival of the entire world.  
However, it is under a number of significant threats from the impacts of climate change, and also the requirements of rapidly developing mega economies in other regions of the world for resources to fuel their growth.
The rapid increase of Invasive Alien Species in the Pacific Islands also presents a major threat to us,” says Ana.
The role of Regional Councillors is to provide guidance on the overall development and implementation of the Union’s world-wide policies and programmes, provide input to the Council on the interests, priorities and needs of the IUCN Members in the Regions and act as IUCN’s ambassadors, working with the President and Director General to advance the interests and Mission of the Union and to promote its services within the Region
Congratulations, Ana!