Countries of the Region
American Samoa, Australia, Christmas Island, Cocos, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Gaum, Kiriabati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, United States, Minor Outlying Islands, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna Islands
The network continues to grow with strong recruitment in the Pacific in 2009. WCPA ANZ now has over 300 members.It includes very senior representatives in all sectors – government, academia and NGOs .
The network is primarily activated through two list servers – one a general list server for all members in the Oceania and another which is aimed at linking technical expertise in Australia and New Zealand to assist in the Pacific- the WCPA Pacific Exchange. Through regular newsletters members are also offered opportunities to contribute their expertise on projects, submissions, meetings and conferences and publications.
In 2008/9 members have been actively engaged by assisting with major submissions to the future of the National Reserve System, the National Biodiversity Strategy, organising a members marine meeting and Promoting connectivity conservation through the Linking the Landscapes Summit among many activities.
Priorities in the Region
Securing the systems
WCPA supports and endorses the goals of the CBD(2.6)
“The overall purpose of the programme of work on protected areas is to support the establishment and maintenance by 2010 for terrestrial and by 2012 for marine areas of comprehensive, effectively managed, and ecologically representative national and regional systems of protected areas that collectively, inter alia through a global network contribute to achieving the three objectives of the Convention and the 2010 target to significantly reduce the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional, national and sub-national levels and contribute to poverty reduction and the pursuit of sustainable development, thereby supporting the objectives of the Strategic Plan of the Convention, the World Summit on Sustainable Development Plan of Implementation and the Millennium Development Goals”.
Our goal is to be an advocate for the pursuit of strong comprehensive, adequate and representative protected area systems in both the land and sea as the core lands of any conservation effort. Gap anaysis is a critical tool and while some countries in Oceania are well advanced there is scope for sharing information, methodologies and possibly capacity.
Securing Carbon and Building Resilience in the face of climate change Climate Change is a global threat but the Island states of the Pacific and the Ancient unique biodiversity of Australia and New Zealand are at particular risk of major and imminent impacts to natural systems and to human livelihoods, safety and well being.
Protected Areas in all their forms are the most cost effective way of securing biodiversity and all the many benefits and values of nature and natural systems. However these extant ecosystems have a critical role in addressing both climate change mitigation and adaptation. First they are vital sinks of carbon and their health and indeed expansion can secure carbon and therefore mitigate climate change. Also healthy functioning natural systems will provide the key refugia for species to survive as well providing resilience for human well being. ‘
Islands to Networks’- Connectivity Conservation
WCPA is having a key role in promoting and achieving the international consensus from both Durban and the CBD Programme of Works on Protected areas that biodiversity conservation requires connecting protected areas with other lands under conservation, or ‘conservation supportive’ management into large-scale ecosystem networks. The imperative to achieve landscape and indeed seascape wide initiatives has become even more urgent in the face of the many challenges protected areas will face from climate change. http://connectivityconservation.org/
Socially inclusive Conservation
Such networks involve a more socially inclusive form of conservation involving many sectors of society. This will involve a broad range of governance types covering the lands of indigenous people, traditional local communities, forestry lands, private land owners involved in sustainable land uses, tourism operators, local governments, private trusts and corporations. Again our region is rich with communities and indigenous population with rich stewardship cultures.
Expansion of conservation in the marine environment is a clear international direction which WCPA in the region can promote, especially the CBD goal of a comprehensive adequate and representative system of marine protected areas by 2012. The Pacific is home to two of the most inspiring international responses to large scale marine conservation, The Coral Triangle and the Micronesian Challenge.
Building the Conservation Community
WCPA needs to broaden the constituency of both support for, and active involvement in, conservation through building partnerships and alliances. Social sustainability is increasingly understood as a fundamental need. In all Oceania nations there are strong indigenous and local communities and major tourism industries who, in both cases, are key and logical partners in conservation. Sustainable agricultural and landowner initiatives are also emerging as key issues.
WCPA has already established a powerful Task Force on Management Effectiveness. The excellent work done by the Task Force could be disseminated more widely through the enhanced regional WCPA network. The management of invasive species could be a particular focus given its increasing toll on regional terrestrial and marine biodiversity and potentially serious impacts on both indigenous people and tourism. A major product could be the preparation of best practice guidelines to states and protected area agencies on the most effective means of managing this highly significant and multi faceted threat.
The area of sustainable financing is a critical bottom line in achieving all other goals. WCPA will seek to identify, promote and communicate innovative ways of sustainably financing protected areas.
New Zealand Coast
Photo: IUCN - Imène Meliane