Island Conservation and others are taking part in the World Conservation Congress’ Honolulu Challenge, a global initiative to address the urgent problem of invasive species in island ecosystems.
My first trip as the CEO was to attend the IUCN’s World Conservation Congress (WCC) in Honolulu, HI in September. Every four years, thousands of conservation leaders and decision-makers from governments, civil society, indigenous peoples, business, and academia convene at the WCC. The goal of the assembly is conserving the environment and harnessing the solutions nature offers to global challenges from around the world.
This was the first time ever that the WCC was held on an island, and so we felt right at home with a special focus on the environmental issues that island communities face. I was honored to attend with many of my staff and join an incredible assembly of conservation heroes, including E.O. Wilson and Sylvia Earle, whom some of our staff were lucky enough to meet. I met many great friends and partners to Island Conservation. But one encounter that stands out was meeting a regional director from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who exclaimed “Island Conservation is a revered partner.” Needless to say, this was an auspicious exchange as the new CEO of Island Conservation. As I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the WCC’s incredible conservation leaders, I felt humbled and inspired to be at the helm of this organization.
One of the exciting outcomes of the WCC was the Honolulu Challenge, an ambitious set of objectives to address the devastating effects of invasive alien species on island biodiversity and human well-being. These objectives are endorsed by experts, governmental and intergovernmental representatives, NGOs, and protected area managers.
Listed below are institutions that have endorsed The Honolulu Challenge and made their own commitments to help achieve its goals:
-The New Zealand Government committed to making New Zealand predator free by 2050.
-The Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation committed to doubling of long term co-investment with partners into invasive species management.
-The BirdLife partnership aims to remove invasive alien threats from at least a further 35 high biodiversity islands worldwide by 2020.
-We, Island Conservation, committed to protect more than 100 threatened species at risk from invasive species on 40 Islands by 2020.
I challenge our peers to take a stand and make conservation commitments that reflect the scale and scope of the extinction crisis and opportunity to remove harmful invasive species from islands around the world. The potential for habitat restoration and biodiversity preservation through invasive species removal is immense.
We strive to close the gap between what we are currently doing to prevent extinctions and our highest potential. We don’t want to have a “hindsight 20/20” situation after species go extinct–we want a “right now 20/20″ situation–and that’s why Island Conservation has made its commitment. Together, we can do even more to protect the incredible wildlife and vibrant ecosystems that are imperiled by invasive species. Won’t you join us?
To endorse and make a commitment to the Honolulu Challenge, contact:
Heath Packard, Island Conservation Director of Communications
Featured photo: Honolulu landscape and seascape. Credit: Markus Joebstl