Monday, April 13, 2009

Pacific Island Conservation: 3 steps in the right direction

Three interesting and related news tidbits from, all having to do with recognizing and acting on conservation issues in Pacific Island regions:

Indonesia will host a World Ocean Conference next month that will include delegates from several Asia Pacific regions, from the Philippines to Papua New Guinea. It is expected that there will be joint agreements on addressing the issues of climate change on the oceans in addition to actions to preserve fisheries (particularly for some of the smaller islands) and to protect coral reef environments (which support both fisheries and tourism, not to mention being a physical buffer to adverse ocean weather/wave conditions).

To the tune of $20 million USD, Australia will fund the Pacific Climate Change Science Program, designed to work with Pacific Island nations to track and analyze the effects of climate change including temperature increases, acidification, and rises sea-level. "Climate change has the potential to affect some of the poorest and most vulnerable nations with challenges including sea level rise, more intense storms and floods, water shortages, and the resulting impacts on water and food security," said AU Senator Penny Wong.

As part of a Japan-Pacific Islands Forum Summit Meeting scheduled for May, Japan and 16 other Pacific Island countries and territories plan to join forces to combat issues such as climate change, poor sanitation, pollution and declining biodiversity. Japan will provide environmental technology assistance to countries and territories to support agriculture and fisheries, address the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and develop tsunami warning systems.

It's great to see countries of all sizes and economic persuasions come together to take proactive steps that will help the long-term preservation of their ocean environments and their tourism and fishing-dependent economies. Some of the other industrialized nations should take note.

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