Thursday, November 24, 2011

OHRLLS Event Addresses Community Land Ownership in SIDS


UN-OHRLLS10 November 2011: The UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and the Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) has convened a special event on the global significance of biodiversity in small island developing States (SIDS) and the importance of community-based partnerships.  

Held at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 10 November 2011, the event aimed to contribute both to the ongoing discussions in the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) Second Committee on the sustainable development of SIDS, and to preparations for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).

According to OHRLLS, SIDS’ biodiversity is among the most threatened in the world, due to their small size and isolation, the fragility or island ecosystems, and the pressures of deforestation, coral reef deterioration, habitat degradation and loss, and non-indigenous species. The tradition of communal land and marine resource ownership in many island countries requires community support for conservation efforts, making it all the more important to increase awareness of the significance of biodiversity.

The event was chaired by the High Representative for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS, Chieck Sidi Diarra. It featured keynote presentations by Dr. Eleanor J. Sterling, Executive Director of the Centre for Biodiversity Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) and Dr. Christopher Filardi, Pacific Director at the Centre, remarks by the chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Ambassador Dessima Williams of Grenada, and an exchange of views by participants. Participants discussed, inter alia: potential links between local and global processes, such as the UNCSD, and the need for global policies to influence national policies; the imminent destruction of coral reefs without serious attention to their protection; Pacific SIDS’ support for the concept of a “blue economy” in the lead-up to Rio+20; and the positive example of the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) as a workable partnership. [Website of Event, including summary of statements and discussion]