Over 40 environmental policymakers and practitioners across the Pacific Island region have called for the adoption innovative technology to promote sustainable development.
The Global Environmental Facility Pacific Ridge to Reef (R2R) Programme stakeholders from 14 Pacific Island countries convened online for 2 days for the 5th Regional Steering Committee (RSC) meeting to discuss guidelines and decision-support tools that prioritizes areas for sustainable governance and management of resources.
Demonstrated to the Committee, the R2R framework supports Pacific Island countries identify priority conservation areas on land that will have the greatest impact on marine conservation; testing of policy actions prior to implementation; and the development of a decision support tool to identify synergies and trade-offs in habitat conservation across terrestrial and marine ecosystems at an archipelagic scale.
The RSC Chair Honourable Minister of Environment and Tourism of Palau and GEF Political Focal Point highlighted that: “With growing population numbers, our habitats and community livelihoods are at risk, threatened by urbanization, logging and commercial agriculture.”
“The R2R framework and spatial planning procedure enables the mapping of priority areas that can improve land-to-sea governance and management by prioritizing local conservation and management actions,” he emphasized.
The Minister continued that the R2R approach supports locally driven solutions and mobilizes communities to take local action that collectively have global benefits and be active participants in local level decisions related to their environment and part of a community to cabinet policy making process.
The Pacific Community's (SPC) Deputy Director-General Dr Audrey Aumua said: “Experience has demonstrated that an integrated approach from ridge to reef, including the ocean, is necessary for sustainable development."
“The challenges we face in coastal areas are global in scale, and SPC’s role is to continue to support our national stakeholders through the provision of context specific scientific and technical innovation,” she emphasized.
“The Pacific Ridge to Reef Programme’s pioneering integrated approach to the management of coastal resources from land to sea will provide critical lessons to inform national to global governance frameworks supporting poverty reduction, sustainable livelihoods and climate resilience,” she concluded.
One of the core outcomes of the GEF Pacific R2R Programme focuses on the establishment of national and regional platforms for managing information and sharing of best practices and lessons learned from implementation.
Dr. Aumua congratulated delegates for the launch of Pacific R2R Programme website and online decision-support tools providing access to technical data and information, documents, news and results from implementation, professional contacts and expertise, and that members of the Pacific R2R network will be able to effectively contribute and participate in achieving a common goal – sustainable development.
Tonga Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources Chief Executive Officer Ms. Rosamond Bing observed that there had been some real reflection on the programmatic approach of the project with a focus on lessons learned and how upscaling may occur guiding future investment.
R2R modelling has been trialled in Vanuatu finding that deforestation resulting from urbanization and commercial agriculture expansion increases sedimentation while forest restoration mitigates sedimentation. A further trial is planned for the Solomon Islands.
Pacific R2R Regional Programme Coordinator Samasoni Sauni said: “Together with the R2R conceptual framework supporting modelling work, we have also provided the committee with guidelines for mainstreaming the ridge to reef approach from science to policy for national application.”
“If correctly and successfully used, the guidelines support the programme goal to 'maintain and enhance Pacific Island countries and territories’ ecosystem goods and services through integrated approaches to land, water, forest, biodiversity and coastal resource management, which in turn contribute to poverty reduction, sustainable livelihoods and climate resilience,” he concluded.
Another priority of the Pacific R2R network is to enable regional and partner research institutions to cater for knowledge needs and align these with national and regional development contexts and goals. Research institutes are recognized as producers of knowledge, not only as contributors to research but as influencers of research outcomes.
The Pacific Ridge to Reef (R2R) Programme is a multi -country, multi -GEF agency programmatic initiative guiding the coordinated investment of USD 90 million in GEF grant funding across multiple focal areas of biodiversity conservation, land degradation, climate change adaptation and mitigation, sustainable land management, sustainable forest management, and international waters in Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Operating across 14 Pacific Island countries, the programme aims to deliver tangible and quantifiable local and global environmental benefits by focusing on cross-cutting approaches to water, land and coastal management with linkages across GEF focal areas including: biodiversity, land degradation, international waters, sustainable forest management, climate mitigation and adaptation and capacity development.
The programme is implemented by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) & the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Executed regionally by the Pacific Community (SPC) through the Pacific Regional Ridge to Reef International Waters project (Pacific Regional R2R IW), the R2R programme is supported by the Regional Programme Coordination Unit (RPCU) in areas of science-based planning, human capital development, policy and strategic planning, results-based management, and knowledge sharing.
Pacific R2R participating countries include: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshal Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Inga Mangisi-Mafileo, Communications and Knowledge Management Adviser, Programme Coordinating Unit, GEF Pacific R2R Programme SPC | M: +679 7523060 E: [email protected]