Cook Islands 4th National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity 2011
This report is presented in 4 chapters.
Chapter 1 provides background on the process of developing the Cook Island
National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP). The Cook Islands was one
of the first countries to commit to the CBD by signing it at the Earth Summit in 1992,
and the Cook Island National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) was
one of the first to be completed for the Pacific Region. This in itself was a positive
step towards implementation of the CBD. The NBSAP was prepared based on
feedback from stakeholder workshops. However, progress on implementation of the
NBSAP has been limited, and significant progress has been made only in several
areas in regard to meeting the targets of the CBD.
Chapter 2 deals with progress on implementation of the NBSAP. The most significant
achievement has been the improvement in the status of threatened species, and this
target has been achieved through the upgrading of the Rarotongan Flycatcher
(Pomarea dimidiata) from critically endangered to endangered on the IUCN red list
of threatened species, in addition to this a number of other targets have been partially
achieved. The Cook Islands Biodiversity database, listing the country’s biodiversity
is a significant and on-going step towards achieving article 7 of the CBD.
Chapter 3 relates to mainstreaming of biodiversity considerations throughout both
Government and non-government institutions. This was attempted through the
incorporation of the NBSAP into the National Environment Strategic Action
Framework (NESAF) and the subsequent inclusion of the NESAF into the National
Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP). Despite this, the policy framework did not
translate to on the ground mainstreaming of biodiversity concerns. A table is
presented showing the role of various institutions in biodiversity.
Chapter 4 looks at the CBD targets, and shows the status of the Cook Islands in
meeting these targets. Success has been achieved in relation to Goal 2, promoting the
conservation of species diversity. Areas where achievements have not met the targets
include percent coverage of protected areas, and effective mainstreaming of
biodiversity. Another area where more effort is required is in the formulation and
implementation of effective management plans for major alien species that threaten
ecosystems, habitats or species.
Though many targets have not been met, overall, the Cook Islands have made
considerable progress towards meeting their obligations under the CBD. The main
problem lies not with lack of progress, but in trying to find where this progress has
been made. There is a need to improve the monitoring and evaluation system in order
to identify progress. The preparation of a report such as this should be an ongoing
activity, with progress against goals recorded as it is made. This will make the
preparation of future reports much more straightforward, and easily completed using
the capacity within the National Environment Service.
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