The inaugural Pacific Islands Species Forum aimed to generate information that will be valuable for governments and communities in conservation planning and species conservation efforts. The main focus was to highlight current scientific knowledge on species in the Pacific, discuss recent conservation efforts, and move towards further action for halting biodiversity loss. The Forum sought to contribute to national and regional understanding of the Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi Targets, with a particular focus on Target 12: By 2020 the extinction of known threatened species has been prevented and their conservation status, particularly of those most in decline, has been improved and sustained. The following Aichi Targets may also be of interest to the Forum:
Target 5: By 2020, the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including forests, is at least halved and where feasible brought close to zero, and degradation and fragmentation is significantly reduced.
Target 9: By 2020, invasive alien species and pathways are identified and prioritized, priority species are controlled or eradicated, and measures are in place to manage pathways to prevent their introduction and establishment.
Target 11: By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.
Target 19: By 2020, knowledge, the science base and technologies relating to biodiversity, its values, functioning, status and trends, and the consequences of its loss, are improved, widely shared and transferred, and applied.
Additionally, the Forum aims to raise the profile of species issues beyond the scientific community and gain the attention of politicians, media and the general public on the importance of species to ecosystems. The Threatened Species Working Group of the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation is expected to not only be a major vector for spreading awareness around species issues, but also a group for actioning specific outcomes from the Forum.
Specific objectives included the following:
- Identification of known threatened species and their conservation needs
- Identification of major threats acting on such species
- Prioritization of species for future research and conservation action
- Ensuring that priority species and measures to protect them are included in NBSAPs and other regional plans