Fiji's Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), Ambassador Peter Thomson, who is also serving as the UN Special Envoy for Oceans, opened the event with a short anecdote about his childhood in Nasese Creek’s mangrove forests (which have since been cleared for urban development) and a call to immediate action.
Eco-DRR workshop group photo © MFF \ Dr Steen Christensen
During the workshop, participants – including the governments of Fiji, Kiribati, the Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu; IUCN; and MFF – had the opportunity to exchange knowledge and their own experiences in mangrove conservation and restoration.
MFF Programme Coordinator Steen Christensen; Dr V. Selvam, Executive Director at M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF); and Dr Tahir Qureshi, IUCN Pakistan Senior Advisor for Coastal Ecosystems shared lessons learned from projects in Pakistan and India. Radhika Murtu, Director of IUCN’s Global Ecosystem Management Programme, shared information on the evolving work with nature-based solutions to address societal challenges, an approach that aims to capture and scale up the benefits of conservation to human well-being.
Former Councillor for Oceania (left) and Aban Marker Kabraji (right) cut the anniversary cake. © IUCN / Oceania
The workshop included a field trip to My Suva Park to study mangrove ecosystems in the Suva area. Participants greatly appreciated the facilities of the park, along with its natural beauty and tranquility. “Such initiatives are great examples of how green spaces can be integrated into urban landscapes, as a win-win solution for people and nature to co-exist,” said Kabure Takaria, Biodiversity Conservation Officer at the Environment and Conservation Division of Kiribati’s Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agriculture Development.
Watch: UN Special Envoy for Oceans Peter Thomson welcomes workshop participants