Niue ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1996 signalling its commitment to conserve and sustainably use its biodiversity. The necessity to conserve biodiversity is a genuine obligation shared by all Niueans, reflected in the establishment of the Huvalu Forest Conservation Area, which protects the largest area of remaining primary forest in Niue, covering 23% of the island’s area, and is an important bird area (IBA). Niue is also working to declare 40 percent of its Exclusive Economic Zone as a marine sanctuary by 2020.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), as part of the EU ACP Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Programme (BIOPAMA), was pleased to assist Niue, convening a technical workshop on protected areas this month.
The assistance from BIOPAMA is part of its support for Pacific regional activities to improve the long-term conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries in protected areas and surrounding communities.
The technical workshop engaged key stakeholders from across the government and communities, including Niue Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Niue Ocean Wide (NOW) project, Niue Ridge to Reef (2R2) project, Niue Crown Law, Niue Justice, Lands and Survey Department, landowners.
The workshop provided them with the opportunity to take stock of Niue’s protected areas and the need to update the data for these areas. Stakeholders were also able to share experiences and explore opportunities for moving protected areas management forward within their country.
Commenting on the workshop, Mr. Haden Talagi, Director, Department of Environment for Niue noted that “The workshop today represents the start of greater coordination at the national level on our protected area commitments and priorities. It has taken some time to coordinate ourselves in-country to identify our gaps so that we can enhance the important role protected areas have with our communities."
"Specifically, increasing understanding of stakeholders of the value of having good data to support informed decision making. To this end, I would like to thank SPREP and the EU ACP BIOPAMA programme for this timely assistance provided to Niue. The Department of Environment on behalf of the Government of Niue is keen to progress the work undertaken and would like to also extend our appreciation to the different Village Councils, NGOs and Government Agencies involved in this initiative.” .
The Pacific Islands Protected Area Portal (PIPAP), a ‘one stop online portal’ for all Pacific protected areas information, was also a key feature of the workshop. A quick review of the current data on Niue’s protected areas was carried out during the workshop, which also included basic training on the features and use of the portal.
Participants were taught how to visualise country protected areas and search for information resources and guidance on different aspects of protected area management. The next step will be to prepare and upload this verified data to the PIPAP and the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA).
“Having accurate protected areas data for Niue is important and will assist the country in its reporting requirements and also identifying where there may be gaps in meeting their national priorities and global commitments to meet the global Biodiversity Targets, known as the Aichi Targets, under the Convention on Biological Diversity” said Amanda Wheatley, SPREP’s Biodiversity Adviser.
Similar technical consultations and training also took place in 2018 in the Cook Islands and Tuvalu, and recently in Palau. A mission to Vanuatu will take place this year.
The technical workshop on protected areas for Niue, held March 6 2019, was a partnership between the Niue Department of Environment and SPREP through the BIOPAMA programme, an initiative of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States financed by the European Union’s 11th European Development Fund.
For more information on the BIOPAMA programme, please contact Mr. Vainuupo Jungblut, Protected Areas Officer on email: email@example.com.