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A Kiwa Initiative side event on “Integrating Conservation and Human Rights”

 05 January 2023
A Kiwa Initiative side event on “Integrating Conservation and Human Rights”
Etika Qica, Kiwa Initiative Coordinator (IUCN-ORO); Marinda Imakulata Tagiilima, youth representative (Samoa); Guillaume Chiron, Deputy Head of the Agriculture, Rural Development and Biodiversity Division (AFD); Catherine Potvin, Deputy Director, Environment Policy and Global Initiatives (Global Affairs Canada); Lolita Gibbons, Program Manager for Conservation and Protected Areas (Palau Conservation Society); Peter Davies, Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Advisor (SPREP); Anne-Claire Goarant (SPC); Nenenteiti Teariki-Ruatau, Director, Environment and Conservation Division (Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development, Kiribati).

During the CBD COP 15 (Montreal, December 7–19, 2022), our partners, the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the Pacific Community (SPC), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature-Oceania regional office (IUCN-ORO), organized an event focused on Nature-based Solutions (NbS). Through presentations of projects that manage, protect, and restore Pacific ecosystems while also promoting local knowledge, participants were better able to grasp the potential of solutions inspired by nature.

Promoting ecosystem management and restoration projects in the Pacific region

Etika Qica, the Kiwa Initiative Coordinator at IUCN-ORO in charge of local projects, presented two of the initiative’s key projects: mangrove restoration and management in Fiji mangrove restoration and management in Fiji (held by the non-profit organization Community Centered Conservation) and coral reef restoration in South Malekula, Vanuatu (held by the non-profit organization Lamacca Climate Change).

He emphasized the importance of providing “Environmental and Social Management Systems” (ESMS) training to promote NbS. ESMS allow users to take into account the environment, society, gender, social inclusion, health, and safety at all stages of their project.

“In Vanuatu and Fiji, ‘ESMS’ was first seen as a technical term that seemed foreign to local populations. But once communities received training, project leaders realized they were already trying to include the most vulnerable in their awareness-raising sessions while working to protect the environment for future generations. The training helped them to better share their data with the broader community, in a more structured way.”

Including communities in climate adaptation projects

During this side-event, several participants brought up the need to integrate local ecological knowledge into the design and implementation of climate change adaptation strategies.

“Local community involvement is an important criterion in the selection of the Kiwa Initiative’s projects. Projects cannot be effective without the participation of local communities from the design phase,” said Guillaume Chiron, Deputy Head of the Agriculture, Rural Development and Biodiversity Division at Agence Française de Développement (AFD).

For example, as part of the local Kiwa project to restore coral reefs in South Malekula, Vanuatu (held by the non-profit organization Lamacca Climate Change), women traditionally monitor the mangroves. They then share their knowledge with the entire clan.

“We are aware that women, especially indigenous women, play a vital role in biodiversity conservation as the custodians of valuable knowledge and practices. In this regard, Kiwa Initiative’s work is clearly aligned with our values and the impact we are looking for. Nature-based Solutions and biodiversity are key themes in Canada’s International Climate Finance Program,” said Catherine Potvin, Deputy Director, Environment Policy and Global Initiatives at Global Affairs Canada.

A new agreement to protect global biodiversity and strengthen implementation of Nature-based Solutions

After two weeks of negotiations, the Convention on Biological Diversity signatories adopted a “historic” agreement to ensure and enable that by 2030, at least 30% of terrestrial, inland water, coastal and marine areas are effectively conserved and managed through ecologically representative protected areas that respect the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities over their territories. The new “Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework” also includes NbS in Target 8 (“Minimize the impact of climate change and ocean acidification on biodiversity and increase its resilience through mitigation, adaptation, and disaster risk reduction actions, including through Nature-based Solutions and/or ecosystem-based approaches while minimizing negative and fostering positive impacts of climate action on biodiversityand Target 11 (“Restore, maintain and enhance nature’s contributions to people, including ecosystem functions and services, such as regulation of air, water, and climate, soil health, pollination and reduction of disease risk, as well as protection from natural hazards and disasters, through Nature-based Solutions and/or Ecosystem-based Approaches for the benefit of all people and nature").

The Kiwa Initiative is committed to strengthening the climate resilience and well-being of Pacific communities through biodiversity management and conservation. We would like to express our sincere thanks to the roundtable contributors: our partners Etika Qica (IUCN), Anne-Claire Goarant (SPC), and Peter Davies (SPREP); donor representatives Catherine Potvin (Canada) and Guillaume Chiron (AFD); project leader Lolita Gibbons (Palau Conservation Society); member country representative Nenenteiti Teariki-Ruatau (Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development in Kiribati); and Pacific youth representative Marinda Imakulata Tagiilima (Samoa).


For more information on the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework: "UN conference concludes with ‘historic’ deal to protect a third of the world’s biodiversity" | UN News

Learn more about all the Kiwa Initiative projects: Projects presentation – Kiwa Initiative (

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