A regular update of IUCN news in the Oceania Region. March 2011


Dr. Milika Sobey, IUCN Oceania Water and Wetlands Programme Coordinator

Championing water issues in the Pacific

The identification of local “champions” of integrated water resource management can do much to allow dialogue, transfer of knowledge and capacity building in the successful delivery of a project.

> Read more of what Dr. Milika Sobey says on the issue
British High Commissioner, Malcom McLachlan and IUCN Oceania Regional Director, Taholo Kami with the cheque that will see the set up of the new environment compliance and enforcement course.

IUCN develops new environmental compliance & enforcement course

A new Environmental Compliance & Enforcement Certificate course will be offered from August this year as part of the University of the South Pacific’s calendar. IUCN Oceania will coordinate the development of the course which will train participants in the detection of environmental offences, use of powers by authorized officers, collection of evidence that will withstand scrutiny in court, giving evidence in court as well as the preparation of charges and presentation of charges in court. For more information contact christine.trenorden@iucn.org

> Read more
Signing the MOU - Regional Director for IUCN Oceania, Taholo Kami and Chief Executive Officer for South Pacific Tourism Organisation, Ilisoni Vuidreketi.

IUCN seals new partnership with South Pacific Tourism Organisation

In light of current high demands for green tourism, The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with IUCN Oceania  on Wednesday March 16th officially forging a five year partnership to pursue greener tourism developments within the region. Activities that IUCN Oceania and SPTO will pursue include the prospect of funding from development banks for low interest renewable energy loans. For more information contact salote.sauturaga@iucn.org

> Read more
CEM Chair, Piet Wit in discussion with Water Authority of Fiji's team leader, Hermant Chand.

Sharing experiences on EBM: CEM visits Oceania

Key players and experts from the environment and sustainable development community in Fiji and abroad gathered in Nadi, Fiji from 2 – 4 March to discuss how to integrate ecosystem based management principles into the Nadi River Basin and Mangrove Management Plans. The outputs of the workshop will contribute to the work of the Nadi Basin Catchment Committee (NBCC) to develop a strategy to reduce flood risks for the Nadi area which has been devastated by frequent flooding events in the past years with the worst ever flooding recorded in 2009. The Steering Committe for the Commission on Ecosystem Management was also part of this workshop and shared their experiences on ecosystem based management. For more information contact milika.sobey@iucn.org

> Read more
Aboard the Gaualofa, the Samoan va’a. Crew members educating school children on Ocean threats.

Working with Vaka Crews on Environmental Messaging

The Pacific Voyagers’ Network, comprising voyaging societies from 10 countries in the Pacific, will set out on a Pan-Pacific voyage from New Zealand to Hawaii in April, calling in at Fakarava and Nuku Hiva in French Polynesia on the way. IUCN Oceania continues to play a role with the network, the culmination of staff involvement being the coordination of a week of ‘environmental messaging’ sessions with 4 of the 7 vaka crews participating in the voyage. The sessions aim to equip the crews with information on various Pacific Ocean issues ranging from invasive species to marine pollution, ocean acidification to ocean noise. For more information contact anama.solofa@iucn.org

> Read more
Crown of thorns starfish

New report identifies invasive species as significant threat to wetlands

The new Regional Wetlands Action Plan for the Pacific Islands (2011 – 2013), produced by the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme has identified invasive species as a significant threat to the integrity of rivers, lakes, marshes and mangroves. The report goes on to say that the “shortage and inaccessibility of scientific information on basic biology” of invasive species is a contributing factor. This is a key area that the Regional Pacific Office of the Invasive Species Specialist Group is seeking to address. It has begun this process with the development of a data and information database on the threat of invasive species on wetlands and wetland biodiversity in the Pacific. For more information contact s.pagad@auckland.ac.nz


Take care of our catchments: IUCN says

For World Water Day 2011, IUCN Oceania  focused its media awareness raising activities in Fiji on water catchments. This is an area often overlooked in public awareness campaigns and one which is quite significant for any terrestrial conservation approach. On 22 March a seminar was convened in Suva to mark the significance of World Water Day. With the theme “Working together for water management in Pacific urban communities” the half day event was organized by the Fiji Water Authority, SOPAC and UN-HABITAT. School children and the general public were the main audience of the event and turned up in numbers to learn of the on-going efforts of water management/conservation in Fiji and abroad. For more information contact epeli.nakautoga@iucn.org


Water is for Life

This is a song composed by Ronn Simpson and the Water Programme of IUCN Oceania  for World Water Day 2011. This song was broadcast daily, along with other water conservation related information, on the week of March 22 (World Water Day) via the ‘Get Set’ children’s programme produced by Fiji TV. For more information contact salote.sauturaga@iucn.org

> Watch the video

Pacific Island Countries climate change mitigation & adaptation

The Government of Italy is implementing a wide range of energy and climate change related projects in 12 Pacific Island Countries with the overall goal of supporting sustainable development initiatives on islands. Six of these energy efficiency and renewable energy projects are being implemented by IUCN in Tonga, Palau, Tuvalu, Marshall Islands, Samoa and Vanuatu. For more information contact anare.matakiviti@iucn.org

> Watch the video
Brolgas, an inland wetland bird, in one of the many wetlands in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia.

Water for Wetlands is Water for Life

The Inland Rivers Network Inc. (IRN) is working to promote the health of Australia's inland river and wetland systems. IRN’s current focus is on the vast Murray Darling Basin and the eagerly awaited and much needed Basin Plan. Years of regulation and growing water extraction by irrigation, industry and human settlements, in a continent of variable weather patterns from droughts to flooding rains, have seriously affected the extent and viability of once vast and enduring wetland and riverine forest ecosystems. However, this plan should provide a scientifically based framework for achieving ecologically sustainable water management. IRN is currently convening a series of workshops, within the Basin, on the theme of “Water for Wetlands is Water for Life” to help improve community understanding about the importance of their local wetlands within the Murray Darling Basin. For more information contact areeves@ozemail.com.au

> For details on the workshops
Environmental water is delivered via temporary pumps to Chalka creek, which flows to the Hattah Lake system.

Victorian National Parks to benefit from Living Murray Program

The Living Murray Program stands to benefit over 7,000 hectares of floodplain in several northern Victorian parks. As the land manager for areas that are adversely affected by changed flow regimes, Parks Victoria has a direct interest in initiatives and processes that aim to improve environmental outcomes for the parks. The detailed design of regulating structures and water delivery channels is now underway for three Victorian icon sites, including areas within Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, Murray-Sunset National Park and the newly created Gunbower National Park. The works will enable permanent and semi-permanent wetlands to be watered, benefiting River Red Gums, Black Box and Lignum communities as well as providing habitat for native fish, frogs, turtles and waterbirds. For more information contact tamara.boyd@parks.vic.gov.au

CEC logo in English

IUCN-CEC Communication workshops in New Zealand

Collaboration between a number of IUCN Members created the opportunity for IUCN's Commission on Education and Communication (CEC) to introduce some of its recent work following the CEESP (Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy) Sharing Power Conference in January. Supported by the New Zealand National Committee of IUCN, Oceania Regional Councillor Diana Shand organised two workshops with the help of ECO- Environment and Conservation Organisations of Aotearoa New Zealand, Forest and Bird and WWF-NZ. Thanks to these and to CEC, Dominic Stucker and Wendy Goldstein, both members of CEC, led two excellent workshops in Auckland and in Wellington. Participants followed some great workshop techniques, learned of the excellent resources available through CEC, and discussed some very real issues relevant to their particular fields. We were duly impressed by the superb leadership of the workshops and very valuable content. For more information contact diana.shand@xtra.co.nz

> Information on CEC
Integrating climate change mitigation with integrated water resources management

Marine & Freshwater Research on Conservation management of rivers under climate change

Climate change is likely to intensify the alarming rate of degradation of the world’s rivers and wetlands unless water resources are better managed, according to a special issue of the international scientific journal Marine & Freshwater Research published online on 21 March. Rivers and wetlands are already degrading more than any other ecosystem – with growing impacts on global biodiversity and on human communities that depend on river flows, says University of New South Wale's Professor Richard Kingsford, Director of the Australian Wetlands and Rivers Centre, who edited the special issue. "The world is watching how Australia manages the over-allocation of rivers caused by dam-building and increasing effects of climate change," says Professor Kingsford.  The special issue of Marine & Freshwater Research brings together 10 leading researchers whose papers cover improved management of dams, better conservation planning and the poor record for wetland and river conservation around the world.


> Download the synthesis paper - Conservation management of rivers under climate change

IUCN Amazing Species

To increase awareness of the enormous variety of life on our planet, and raise the profile of threatened species, IUCN will be regularly highlighting ‘amazing’ species throughout 2011. The species selected will include charismatic and obscure species, representing the entire range of taxonomic groups as well as covering the world’s regions. The latest species to be featured is the Fijian Giant Long-horned beetle, Xixuthrus heros, which is endemic to Fiji. 
Further information on the Amazing Species feature can be found on the IUCN Red List website.


4 – 8 April

Joint Pacific Ministerial meeting for Energy, Transport and ICT, New Caledonia. For more information contact anare.matakiviti@iucn.org or view the meeting papers here.

11 – 15 April

Environmental, Social Impact Assessment Workshop, Nadi, Fiji. For more information contact larissa.brisbane@iucn.org

20 April

Nadi Basin Catchment Committee 1st Quarter meeting. For more information contact milika.sobey@iucn.org or epeli.nakautoga@iucn.org.

25 - 29 July

Pacific Islands Nature Conservation Roundtable Annual Meeting, Samoa. For more information visit the website or contact etika.rupeni@fspi.org.fj

5 June

World Environment Day. For information on WED click here or to learn of IUCN's activities contact salote.sauturaga@iucn.org

8 June

World Oceans Day. For information on WOD visit worldoceannetwork or to learn of IUCN's activities contact salote.sauturaga@iucn.org

22 – 25 August

Oceania Regional Conservation Forum, Brisbane, Australia. For more information contact helen.pippard@iucn.org

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Photo credits@ IUCN: Header : Salote Sauturaga.