Assistant Minister for Local Government Housing and Environment Hon. Lorna Eden with the participants of Oceania Regional Conservation Forum. Photo: SUPPLIED.
The Fijian Government is committed to protecting 30 per cent of our coastal and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Assistant Minister for Local Government, Housing, Environment, Infrastructure and Transport Hon. Lorna Eden highlighted this at the opening of the three-day Oceania Regional Conservation Forum in Suva today.
Hon. Eden said Fiji has taken a lead role in the protection of locally-managed marine areas and implemented the National Biodiversity and Action Plan, which are indicative of the country’s pledge to meeting local and international commitment to the Convention on Biodiversity.
“We are however, still vulnerable to threats of invasive species within our fragile ecosystem, poaching of our endemic species like the crested and banded iguana and most recently to the increasing threats posed that create intense weather system as a result of climate change,” Hon. Eden said.
Highlighting the forum theme ‘Resilience in a Climate Challenged Planet’, Ms Eden said in the face of climate change, disasters and other social and environment issues, improving people’s lives and alleviating poverty was a priority.
“I hope that by the end of this forum, there will be a clear direction for our Oceania countries on how to deliver a new implementation plan for 2017-2020.
“We are often side tracked and political agendas change but our will and our focus can be steadfast if we are passionate about the work we undertake whether it is in species, invasives, fisheries, agriculture, forestry or community development,” Hon. Eden said.
Hon. Eden urged participants at the forum to “value nature and all the complex systems that provide for the many essential services for our needs – the provision of freshwater, fresh air, regulating of our climate and provision of timber for shelter, to name a few”.
The Oceania Regional Conservation Forum is being hosted by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Oceania and 58 IUCN Oceania members and selected representatives from the IUCN Commissions will be discussing issues on biodiversity conservation, climate change, food security, green growth and other significant issues where collected efforts are mobilised to effect change for the next three days.
The forum is a very important part of IUCN’s preparation for the World Conservation Congress that will be held in Hawaii next year and the subsequent four-year programme.