Mr. Taholo Kami, the Regional Director of IUCN Oceania Regional Office, was officially handed back the title of Chair of the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation this morning at the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas.
Mr. Kami has held the title for the last five years, having been appointed at the previous conference held in Alotau, Papua New Guinea in 2007.
The Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation is the Pacific’s largest cross-sectoral coalition of non-government organizations, government agencies, regional organizations and donors working in nature conservation in the region.
Since 2007, the conservation community in the Pacific has achieved many positive outcomes. Locally managed marine areas in the region have increased and are now spreading beyond the Pacific Islands and Asia. There has also been significant commitments with some of the world’s largest marine declarations and tuna conservation measures. The Micronesia Challenge is now replicated through similar initiatives in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean. All these measures are a result of a combination of strong political leadership with innovative civil society partnerships.
“I look forward to working again with the Roundtable and I hope we can pick things up in the next five years,” Mr. Kami said following the announcement. “I also look forward to what we can do together with the government of Fiji, as the new Chair of the conference, in terms of moving our action strategy forward.”
SPREP’s Director General, Mr. David Sheppard, thanked Mr. Kami for his leadership and highlighted SPREP’s commitment in being part of and working closely with the Roundtable and the many conservation programmes active in the region.
Mr. Kami is a Tongan national but spent most of his childhood in Papua New Guinea. He has worked with churches in Tonga and the Pacific, served on various boards and worked with governments and international agencies across the region. He also helped establish the Small Island Developing States Network (SIDSnet) and IUCN’s Oceania Regional Office based in Suva.
More than 50 organizations have participated in the partnership of the Roundtable since its humble beginnings in 1997. There are currently 13 members of the Roundtable: International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), University of the South Pacific (USP), Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), WWF, Conservation International (CI), Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), Locally managed Marine Areas (LMMA), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), RARE Conservation, Birdlife International, Foundations of the Peoples of the South Pacific International (FSPI), Pacific Biodiversity Information Forum (PIBF) and SeaWeb.