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

Non-governmental environment group Te Ipukarea Society has presented Cook Islands News reporter Rachel Reeves with an award for her dogged “pursuit of the truth” in covering offshore fisheries issues.

Reeves, who has been an integral part of the CINews team since January 2010, has shown strong reporting skills in tackling the often-thorny issues surrounding the country’s fisheries.

Te Ipukarea Society (TIS) programme manager Jacqui Evans presented Reeves the “TIS award for persistent pursuit of the truth on Cook Islands fisheries” on Friday afternoon.

“We want to thank Rachel so much for all the wonderful coverage on offshore fisheries issues. She has constantly pushed for answers from [Marine Resources] Minister Teina Bishop and secretary Ben Ponia,” said Evans.

Reeves’ recent coverage of marine issues includes holding the ministry to task over the legality of fishing licences granted.

Evans believes comprehensive coverage of marine resources helps TIS and its cause.

People need to work collaboratively to pursue the truth, said Reeves in accepting her award.

“It’s scary stuff what’s happening in fisheries right now. To effect positive change the media, groups like TIS and people who care all have to work together.”

Calida Smylie – Cook Islands News

TIS Executive member Ana Tiraa was voted to the IUCN Global Council at the World Conservation Congress. Ana has worked in conservation in the Pacific region for more than 20 years.

“I believe that conservation is about managing people’s actions, and this is the key to achieving good outcomes,” says Ana in her speech in Jeju.
“As the largest of the world’s oceans, the Pacific Ocean is vital to the survival of the entire world.
However, it is under a number of significant threats from the impacts of climate change, and also the requirements of rapidly developing mega economies in other regions of the world for resources to fuel their growth. The rapid increase of Invasive Alien Species in the Pacific Islands also presents a major threat to us,” says Ana.

The role of Regional Councillors is to provide guidance on the overall development and implementation of the Union’s world-wide policies and programmes, provide input to the Council on the interests, priorities and needs of the IUCN Members in the Regions and act as IUCN’s ambassadors, working with the President and Director General to advance the interests and Mission of the Union and to promote its services within the Region.
Congratulations, Ana!

TIS met with Conservation International (CI) during CI’s visit to the Cook Islands in support of the Pacific Islands Leaders Forum Pacific Oceanscape initiative.

Luana Bosanquet-Heays of TIS joined CI staff, CEO Peter Seligmann as well as oceanographer and aquanaut Sylvia Earle on a tour with Nan Hauser in search of whales.
The TIS Executive Committee also met with CI during their stay on Rarotonga.

TIS is happy to have spent the time with Conservation International who have helped extensively with the groundwork for the Cook Islands Marine Park.

The new Cook Islands Marine Park was announced by the Cook Islands Prime Minister at the opening of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting last month. The Marine Park comprises the southern half of our Exclusive Economic Zone from 15 degrees south and encompasses one atoll and eight islands with fringing coral reefs. It also includes over 1 million km2 of deep ocean with a number of seamounts that may be significant in terms of biodiversity and/or abundance of marine life.

The legal designation of the Marine Park will follow island consultations, a legal analysis of existing legislation and a legislative process.

“The announcement is just the beginning of a long process to determine the zonation of activities in the Marine Park,” says Jacqui Evans of Te Ipukarea Society. “Where can certain activities occur in the area? Where will some activities be prohibited? How do we make marine protection effective?” says Jacqui.
A Marine Park Steering Committee, established and chaired by the Office of the Prime Minister, comprises government agencies, traditional leaders and Te Ipukarea Society. The committee will assist with the legal designation of the Marine Park and will help to address issues surrounding its management.

The Marine Park Steering Committee are currently putting together a national work plan and budget to guide what needs to be done over the next three years to make the Marine Park effective.

TIS representatives at the IUCN World Conservation Congress attended a workshop with Big Ocean: A network of the World’s Large Scale Marine Managed Areas last month.

Big Ocean is made up of member sites, represented by managers and partners, and provides support to other existing and proposed large-scale marine managed areas and site partners through peer-learning opportunities.

The workshop entitled “The Role of Partnerships and Size in Scaling Up Marine Protection Efforts Across the Globe,” was organized and hosted jointly by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Big Ocean, Conservation International and the New England Aquarium.
The aim of the workshop was to use discussions to inform and guide the development of practical management guidance on large-scale marine protected areas.

TIS Executive Member Teina MacKenzie attended a workshop in Fiji in August to learn about the geological, technical, biological and environmental aspects of deep sea minerals last month.
The workshop is part of the Deep Sea Minerals Project implemented by SPC and funded by the European Union.

During previous regional workshops and national stakeholder consultation meetings in the 15 Pacific Islands countries participating in the project, SPC learnt that the capacity to effectively regulate and facilitate meaningful participation of Pacific ACP States in the deep sea minerals industry is lacking.
Therefore this workshop was developed to enhance knowledge through:
(1) delivery of appropriate lecture materials; (2) showing videos and graphics related to each topic; (3) active participation and interactive discussions during the workshop; (4) short tests or exercises to gauge the level of knowledge of each participant; and (5) provision of relevant training materials to each participant (i.e. reports, handouts, power point presentations, and video clips).
Further workshops are expected to cover financial, environmental and social aspects of deep sea minerals.

TIS submitted a motion on seabed mining to the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Korea last month.

The final motion was entitled “Protection of the deep ocean ecosystem and biodiversity from the threats of sea bed mining”

Co-sponsors (supporters) of the TIS motion were: Tonga Community Development Trust, University of the South Pacific, National Trust of Fiji Islands, Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Inc., The Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ Inc and the Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales.

The motion was accepted by the Resolution Working Group and was merged with a similar motion submitted by Agence des Aires Marines Protégées – France. In the end, the scope of motion went from Pacific Ocean to include all ocean ecosystems. The motion was passed with support from Government members (95.5% voted yes) and NGO members (99.56% voted yes).

Invited by Prime Minister Henry Puna, Sylvia Earle was in the Cook Islands during the Pacific Islands Forum last month. Sylvia is an oceanographer, aquanaut and author. Named by Time Magazine as the first “Hero for the Planet”, Sylvia was a research fellow or associate at Harvard University from 1967-1991 and was a chief scientist at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atomospheric Administration from 1990 to 1992. Since 1998 she has been a National Geographic explorer-in-residence.

Sylvia led the first team of women aquanauts in 1970. In 1979, she made an open-ocean JIM suit dive to the sea floor near Oahu, setting a women’s depth record of 381 metres (1,250 ft). She also holds the women’s depth record for a solo dive in a submersible: 1,000 metres (3,300 ft).

Sylvia is an advocate of marine protection and has given scientific, technical and general interest lectures in over 60 countries.
Says Sylvia: “People ask: Why should I care about the ocean? Because the ocean is the cornerstone of earth’s life support system, it shapes climate and weather. It holds most of life on earth. 97% of earth’s water is there. It’s the blue heart of the planet — we should take care of our heart. It’s what makes life possible for us. We still have a really good chance to make things better than they are. They won’t get better unless we take the action and inspire others to do the same thing. No one is without power. Everybody has the capacity to do something.”

Sylvia had dinner with the Prime Minister in Rarotonga, went SCUBA diving in Aitutaki and spent time with TIS and Nan Hauser of Cook Islands Whale Research during a whale watching tour with the Conservation International CEO and staff.

Prime Minister Henry Puna highlighted the challenge of invasive alien species at the Pacific Islands Forum last month. Invasive species are plants, animals and diseases that enter a country – often accidentally on ships, in agricultural goods, in people’s airline luggage – and then spread.
Once established they cause extensive ongoing problems.

A discussion paper and information booklet was produced to provide background for Pacific Leaders during their discussion of the issue at the Forum.
The Pacific Invasive Initiative provided the technical background for the publications.
In the Forum Communique, Leaders “reaffirmed the importance of dealing effectively with invasive species at both national and regional levels, and requested SPREP and SPC to increase their efforts in that regard, working with other actors as appropriate.”

To coincide with Environment Week, Tania Temata has been chosen as recipient of the TIS Environmental Award.

“This Award is presented to either an individual or organization or business who is a champion of environmental issues and Tania is very deserving of this Award” says Ian Karika, President of the Society.

In citing the reasons for receiving this award, the award reads “for carrying out your various roles at the National Environment Service with excellence for over twenty years, through untiring service and love for the people of the Cook Islands and the Pacific, thereby making a difference to the wellbeing of the planet”.

“Most of us at TIS have worked with Tania as environmental colleagues and we have always
been impressed with her dedication, intelligence and determination, whether at home or on the world stage, pushing for positive measures to protect the Cook Islands environment”, commented Jacqui Evans, Programme Manager for TIS. Congratulations Tania.

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