Small Island Developing States Conference
The Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States was held in Apia, Samoa, September 1-4, 2014. It focused the world’s attention on a group of countries facing unique challenges in their pursuit of sustainable development.
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Due to their particular vulnerabilities — such as small size, isolation, sea-level rise and more intense and frequent natural and environmental disasters — small island developing states were first recognized by the international community in 1992.
The 2014 conference focused on advancing sustainable development of these states through “genuine and durable partnerships.” Partnerships allow these vulnerable countries to overcome challenges that are too difficult or complex for one country or organization to address alone.
Key results from the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States related to Conservation International's work include:
Pacific Ocean Alliance was launched bringing together a group of stakeholders that represent the diverse range of ocean interests in the Pacific region. The Alliance was called for by Pacific Leaders to strengthen coordination and collaboration for the effective implementation of regional and national actions under the Pacific Oceanscape Framework. Together, partners will work to enhance the sustainable development, management and conservation of the Pacific Ocean.
A new MoU was signed between CI and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) to continue and strengthen our long standing relationship at the launch of the Regional Framework for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas in the Pacific Islands Region 2014 - 2020. Over the past 10 years the SPREP-CI partnership has included collaboration on identifying and mapping Key Biodiversity Areas, undertaking Rapid Biological Assessments (BIORAPs) in Samoa and Nauru, working together to develop and promote the Oceanscape Framework, and implementing the CEPF Polynesia-Micronesia Biodiversity Hotspot programme.
Palau has committed to advancing protection of oceans by announcing the Palau National Marine Sanctuary. This Sanctuary will establish a no-take that covers more than 80% of the Palau Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) including a highly regulated Fishing Zone that covers approximately 20% of the EEZ and a complete prohibition on purse seine fishing that covers 100% of the EEZ. In addition, Palau will establish a prohibition on fish exports and create a reformed modern domestic commercial long-line fishing fleet with observer oversight on 100% of its vessels.
The President of the Federated States of Micronesia announced that they will allocate USD $2.4 million to advancing the Micronesia Challenge, a commitment made by the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam and the Republic of the Marshall Islands in 2008 to conserve at least 30% of the near-shore marine resources and 20% of the terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020. The funding will be allocated toward reducing the threat of invasive species through implementation of the Micronesia Biosecurity Plan. "Any national economic development plan that does not give prominent recognition to the environment, is like a rich man with poor health," stated President Mori.
The Republic of the Marshall Islands provided an update on the Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership that has been adopted by 16 Pacific Island Forum members. Since it was launched in 2013, the United States and State of Hawaii as well as the European Union, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Japan have signed onto the Declaration. "Whether it be biodiversity, sustainable livelihoods, or climate change we need the courage to work together and encourage others to do the same," said President Loeak.
The Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi highlighted the Two Samoa's Initiative as a strategic collaboration to advance climate change resilience planning and action. The Prime Minister challenged other countries and states in Polynesia to join them in a similar partnership to the other regional challenges.
Greg Stone joined Nainoa Thompson and his crew aboard the traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe Hōkūleʻa in celebration of the International Year of Small Island Developing States on its sail from Pago Pago, American Samoa to Apia, Samoa. In Apia habour, they were joined by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Sylvia Earle of Mission Blue, and the President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau Jr.. The sail was part of the Hōkūle'a's Worldwide Voyage, organized by the
Polynesian Voyaging Society, which plans to cover 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports and 26 countries, by the time it docks in June 2017. The voyage represents a durable, lasting and innovative partnership to protect our oceans in a new way, inspired by traditional knowledge and local wisdom. For more information you can read Greg Stone's blog.
Wyland, the world-renowned ocean artist and a natural goodwill ambassador, was also aboard the Hōkūleʻa and joined the CI team in Apia where he painted a mural with local children in honour of Pacific Oceanscape, and the Hokule'a world wide voyage.
Conservation International recognizes the immense importance of sustainable development for small island developing states due to their strong link to nature, in particular the ocean. CI’s work with small island developing states focuses on sustainable development, improved marine management and stewardship, conservation and protection of the benefits nature provides, with programs, investments or previous research in the following states: the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Mauritius, Singapore, Guyana and Suriname.
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EditImage Alt Text:View of a man in a boat and underwater coral reef in Bird's Head, Raja Ampat, Indonesia. © Conservation International/photo by Sterling Zumbrunn
EditImage Alt Text:Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. © Conservation International/photo by Emmeline Johansen
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EditImage Alt Text:Ailuk atoll, Marshall Islands, Pacific. © Andre Seale/Marine Photobank