Fiji delegation contributes towards establishment of major international biodiversity science policy
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Members of the Fiji delegation that attended the Panama meeting: Mr Rahul Chand, Coordinator of the Fiji National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan and Professor Randy Thaman from USP, who served as the Scientific Advisor for the delegation.
The recent establishment of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) supported by governments of over 90 countries is one of the most significant developments in global science policies.
After several years of international negotiations, the final operational design of the IPBES was agreed upon in a meeting in Panama City on 21 April, 2012.
The meeting was attended by 270 delegates representing 103 countries. Fiji was involved in the process leading up to the IPBES establishment and was also one of the two Pacific Island Countries, apart from Cook Islands, to be present at the Panama meeting.
IPBES aims to tackle head-on the accelerating worldwide loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystem services by bridging the gap between accurate, impartial and up-to-date science and policy-makers.
As a new platform, IPBES is recognised by both the scientific and policy communities as a platform for addressing existing gaps and strengthening the science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services that are so important to the sustainability of life on earth.
The two-member delegation from Fiji that attended the meeting included Mr Rahul Chand, Coordinator of the Fiji National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan (NBSAP) and currently a postgraduate student at USP, and Professor Randy Thaman from USP, who served as the Scientific Advisor for the delegation.
Being part of the delegation on the historic occasion of the establishment of IPBES was a “great honour” for both Fiji delegates.
“This is a clear indication of Fiji’s continuing commitment to and engagement in the ongoing process of the ratification and implementation of IPBES. Fiji and USP have made valuable links and strengthened future alliances and trust that will auger well for the success, not only of IPBES, but other future sustainable development, scientific and capacity building initiatives,” Professor Thaman added.
Professor Thaman believes that USP will play a central role in the validation and dissemination of peer-reviewed natural and social scientific knowledge on the status of, and future scenarios related to, the health and use of Pacific Islands biodiversity and ecosystems, once the international and regional structure of the Multidisciplinary Experts Panel (MEP) of IPBES is established.
The chair of the meeting, Sir Robert Watson, the Chief Scientific Advisor of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of the United Kingdom, in a statement released after the historic establishment of IPBES said, “Today, biodiversity won. Biodiversity and ecosystem services are essential for human wellbeing. This platform will generate the knowledge and build the capacity to protect them for this and future generations.”
The launch of the IPBES adds to the gathering momentum for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) to be held in June in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.