Read the Summary Report here:
More than 60 participants met in Suva, Fiji to attend events from 18-21 September held by the International Partnership for Blue Carbon with co-hosts the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat – Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner.
There was a strong Pacific representation from Fiji, Kiribati, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Tonga and Vanuatu. Many other countries and organisations participated including Japan, Korea, Philippines, Sierra Leone, as well as Conservation International and the Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.
A key theme of both events was the value of coastal ecosystems to the Pacific region and the importance of improving the availability of data. There was also a continued discussion around access to finance to support blue carbon efforts.
The Pacific Blue Carbon Workshop (18-19 September)
Opened by Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for the Environment Josh Wycliffe, the Workshop highlighted the state of science, policy and practical action on coastal ecosystems in the Pacific. The Workshop created greater awareness of blue carbon while recognising the importance of these ecosystems for Pacific communities and the need for national policies to support management of the ecosystems. Fiji alone has 40,000 hectares of mangrove forest.
Key themes included:
- pressures on coastal ecosystems from development and the need to balance economic development and sustainable environmental uses
- the centrality and importance of working collaboratively with local communities (and governments) in the Pacific, in all aspects of future project planning, design and implementation
- the importance of seeking to build and complement the systems and traditional management regimes that are already in place
- a need for more data on coastal ecosystems in the Pacific, including more research and a better understanding of seagrass
- a need for genuine and lasting partnerships to encourage young talent and take the significant technical capacity and expertise forward into the future
Field Trip (19 September)
A highlight of the week was the half day field excursion organised by Conservation International, in partnership with the University of the South Pacific (USP) and the University of Fiji. The trip combined classroom and experiential learning to provide a broad reaching overview of scientific expertise, academic research, and technical capacity within Fiji and the Pacific Islands region. Activities included visiting a mangrove habitat along the Rewa Delta, conducting drone-mapping in the mangrove forests, applying remote-sensing technologies in My Suva Park, and touring the laboratory and research facilities at USP.
Third Annual International Partnership for Blue Carbon (20-21 September)
The Partnership Meeting focused on global developments on blue carbon and strategic planning for the Partnership’s upcoming priorities. Coordination issues across government agencies were frequently raised as a challenge in managing blue carbon policies.
The Partnership’s focal groups, comprised of technical experts and government representatives, held sessions to further explore issues raised. The value the Partnership provides in bringing together these different sectors, and its focus on governments and policy development, was reiterated in a Partnership strategy session. The Partnership has grown to 38 members and the session provided a timely opportunity for members to consider how the Partnership can maintain engagement and balance its resources between hosting events and developing policy and technical guidance.
Where to next?
Next steps for the Partnership include the development of activities with focal groups while the Coordinating Group will develop an options paper reflecting considerations raised in the strategy session.