IUCN Congress opens with focus on island nations

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National Broadcasting Corporation of Papua New Guinea, Honolulu, Hawai'i

It was a time of celebration, displaying the colorful traditions of the Hawaiian people, as thousands gathered to witness the opening ceremony.

Pacific Island countries and territories have committed to bold initiatives in terms of enhancing renewable energy production, adapting to climate change and strengthening the resilience of ecosystems.

Island leaders were given the chance to address the delegates. The Governor of Hawaii, David Ige, is committed in protecting 30% of their highest priority watersheds by 2030.

Echoing same sentiments, The President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau, spoke of the importance of fighting climate change and protecting the oceans for island nations. 

“Today only about 2% of the total area of oceans is protected. Scientists tell us that figure should be at least 30%,” he said. “This is why Palau has sponsored a motion through the IUCN Assembly to adopt a target of establishing marine reserves that fully protect at least 30% of our oceans. And I call on all nations of the world to step up and support this critical motion for the oceans.”

As he declared the IUCN Congress open, IUCN President Zhang Xinsheng said changes in policies with proper mechanisms put in place, change is inevitable.

"We have the right people here, together, in this inspiring place, with the knowledge, tools and influence to make a transformative difference, to take these bold steps to move the planet from tipping point to turning point. ”It's critical that the donor community pursues and increases its support for the needs of the Pacific," he said.

The 10-day World Conservation Congress Will end on the 10th of September. Delegates are looking forward to the outcomes of the events.