(From L-R): SPREP Director Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management, Mr Stuart Chape, USP Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra and Chair of PIRT, Mr Taholo Kami during the membership agreement signing at the IUCN office.
The University of the South Pacific (USP) formalised a membership agreement with the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation (PIRT) on 30 March 2016.
PIRT is a membership-based network of non-government organisations, regional agencies and donors that are committed to support governments and civil society in Pacific Island Countries in their efforts to sustainably manage and conserve the region’s biodiversity.
Members of PIRT declare their commitment to promote, facilitate and monitor progress regarding the new Framework for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas in the Pacific Islands region 2014-2020 and the Principles for Nature Conservation in the Pacific Islands Region through increased collaboration and partnerships.
While signing the agreement at the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) office, USP Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra said the agreement formalises something the University is already committed to.
Professor Chandra said that the ratification signified that USP accepts the principles behind the membership agreement, adding that the University’s contribution should be consonant with the principles that have been articulated in the agreement.
“You can take it from my presence and signing that the University will continue to be significantly committed to that as part of its broader engagement with the Pacific,” he said.
Professor Chandra highlighted that as part of USP’s Strategic Plan (2013-2018), the University is looking at ways to scale up some of its research activities in areas of environment, conservation and sustainable development, and the agreement will help USP to grow in these areas.
Chair of PIRT, Mr Taholo Kami welcomed USP’s membership and said that the University has been a long standing partner with the Roundtable before the formalisation of the membership.
Mr Kami especially acknowledged three staff of the University, Professor Randy Thaman, Professor Elisabeth Holland and Professor William Aalbersberg, who had been representing the University at PIRT.
He further added that USP plays a key role in the areas of education and research, providing meaningful expertise and partnership to PIRT.
The Roundtable serves as a venue for bringing strategic oversight to conservation in the region while providing a forum for accountability, transparency and coordination for conservation organisations donors.
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