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Environmental impacts of seabed mining brochure
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Te Ipukarea Society Brochure 2017-18

Nick Askew from Birdlife International(BLI) came to Rarotonga to assist TIS with creating a funding strategy in order to resource the TIS Strategic Plan and ongoing work programme after March 2012. This work is supported by the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund.

Jacqui sits on the GEF National Focal Group (Global Environment Fund) hosted by CINCW. Approximately US400,000 is available for funding over the next three years for small environmental projects up to $NZ50,000 each. And also on the funding/aid/donors subject, TIS was invited to be part of a “think tank” organized by Peter Tierney of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management to streamline the management of funds coming into the Cooks.

One key component is for each member of this committee to ask via their respective networks for information on personal experiences in accessing funding – good and bad – and ideas to put forward to make the processes of applications, access to funds and reporting.

Therefore please make contact with Jacqui to assist her with the TIS report by January 2012.

Some of the TIS executive at a seabird survey debrief meeting

Welcome home to Ian Karika, after what was an eventful trip to the Northern Group to carry out the Seabird and Invasive Alien Species Survey.

Ian and his crew left Aitutaki in September on the MV “Orongo” and headed for Penrhyn and Manihiki islands that have not be surveyed since the 1980’s. Ian is currently completing the seabird survey report.

The visit was funded by the Packard Foundation, CEPF, SPREP and donations were received from Barbara Lawson and the Cummings family.

Nga Maireroa of the Cook Islands Ministry of Agriculture, Jacqui Evans of TIS and Liz Munroe of the National Environment Service

Jacqui Evans hand-carried a weed injector from New Zealand for the National Environment Service and Ministry of Agriculture to trial the control of invasive vines in the mountains of Rarotonga.

Jacqui received the weed injector and training from Allan Tye, the Invasive Species Advisor at SPREP.

Jacqui has passed this training and weed injector on to the two government agencies. Vines such as Ballon Vine (Cardiospermum grandiflorum) and Mile A Minute (Mikania micrantha) are growing over all trees in some valleys, killing the vegetation underneath.

It is hoped that the weed injector will be a rapid and effective method of removing invasive vines from Cook Islands forests.

Two years ago UNESCO set up a Commission in the Cooks creating greater exposure of UNESCO here. Previously it had been one person and a desk at MFEM. The Ministry of Culture initially set up the Commission but in September it was transferred to the Ministry of Education with Secretary Sharyn Paio as the new Commissioner.

Sharyn is now charged with appointing 5 persons to assist her in the specific areas of education, culture and environment. We are hopeful that a representative from TIS may be appointed.

This would be an amazing opportunity to tap into the world of the United Nations and bring ongoing benefits to the Cook Islands via their programmes and also funding for programmes initiated in the Cook Islands.UNESCO

TIS are receiving a grant from the European Union via Birdlife International to implement an invasive species project during 2012-2014. Invasive species are plants and animals that typically don’t belong naturally to a place (are introduced or alien to the environment) and when introduced to a place they can cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.

A well known example in the Pacific Islands is the myna bird which is a pest to humans and has also been found in some places to affect native bird populations. The Birdlife project in Cook Islands is to raise awareness of the problem of invasive species and the importance of biosecurity, to develop a biosecurity plan for Suwarrow and to measure the social and economic impacts in the Cook Islands of eradicating rats from Suwarrow. It will begin in March 2012.

Te Ipukarea Society made a submission on this plan to the Policy and Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Office. Overall, the plan has incorporated more green initiatives than in previous national plans, but has not gone far enough. TIS comments were as follows:

1. There is a need for an indicator of development progress additional to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GDP is only an indication of economic progress and does not measure our success in terms of our national vision which is “to enjoy the highest quality of life…”.

2. TIS has not supported seabed mining because we are concerned about the very little information we have about the impact of this activity on the inter-connectedness of our ocean (the precautionary principle). However, if seabed mining was to happen, the country should plan to establish an endowment fund from the proceeds.

3. TIS recommended that government develop policies to introduce economic incentives for the private sector to minimise impacts on the natural environment. Economic incentives will ensure businesses that meet environmental standards are rewarded and will make it expensive for businesses that pollute and degrade.

4. We need to re-orientate towards achieving zero waste as our ultimate goal. See www.zerowaste.co.nz For example, indicators may be set at achieving 50% waste reduction within 3 years and 80% waste reduction within 5 years. Also policies can be developed within our National Waste Strategy that ensure incentives for minimising waste production and regulate the importation of phosphate rich detergents and of unnecessary non-biodegradable products such as Styrofoam and plastic crockery and plastic shopping bags. Container deposits are another means of ensuring a higher percentage of recycling (New Zealander’s remember those days when glass bottles were returned to shops for 5 cents).

5. Economic incentives can be introduced to encourage the importation of energy-efficient vehicles, and discourage the importation of energy-inefficient vehicles. Energy-inefficient vehicles come at a significant economic and environmental cost and typically have large engines that are challenged at low speeds presenting safety issues on our roads.

6. Incentives can be introduced to encourage shipping that adopts green transportation technology
Incentives can be provided to home-owners to catch rain water from their rooftops in order to increase water storage and protect the coastal environment by reducing storm-water runoff.

An entomologist is visiting the Cook Islands and TIS, along with the Natural Heritage Trust have taken the opportunity to use his expertise to inventory insects in Atiu.

The entomologist, Peter Maddison, will be sampling insects using direct examination of plants, sampling of insects using a sweep net, sampling special habitats, pitfall trapping for soil active insects and other invertebrates (animals without back-bones), sampling flying insects with an insect net, collecting at light and miscellaneous samples from in buildings. A report will be completed by December this year.

TIS is on the Steering Committee of the Cook Islands Marine Park along with government agencies and traditional leaders. The Steering Committee is chaired by the Office of the Prime Minister.

The SC met on 17 November 2011 to update on progress and select representatives to attend the Big Ocean’s Meeting. The Steering Committee is now tasked with examining various forms of Trusts, Marine Park management plans and technical assistance.

TIS together with Muri Environment Care members met with an EU External Monitor, Fabris Hanse to advise progress and issues with implementing the Muri WatSan project. Fabris is conducting what the EU calls a “ROM” – Result Oriented Monitoring. He is looking at three EU funded projects:
1. The Pukapuka cyclone shelter
2. Technical Assistance to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management and
3. The Muri Water and Sanitation Project

TIS and MEC informed Fabrice about the considerably long process to design and implement the project. Expectations could have been better managed if EU were able to inform the community clear timelines for project phases and the likely results in each phase.

Muri Environment Care have done considerable voluntary work, educating the public about the issues surrounding nutrient-enrichment and the resulting algal blooms in Muri lagoon.

A visit in October by a team from the Critical Ecosystems Parnership Fund (CEPF) resulted in a closer working relationship and understanding of the specific challenges we face as a small Pacific Island.

CEPF is supporting the biodiversity conservation work and capacity building of TIS during 2009-2012. Head of the Mission, John Watkin, praised the work being carried out by Ed Saul and his team at the Taktitumu Conservation Area and by Birdman George on Atiu.

A debriefing session was held on Rarotonga between TIS Executive and the CEPF with revised guidelines being agreed to which will facilitate better communications and speed of requests on both sides.
TIS are grateful to CEPF for the tremendous assistance provided to build our capacity and conserve nature.

CEPF is a joint initiative of l’Agence Francaise de Developpement, Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation. The focus of CEPF is the conservation of threatened species and other globally important species.

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