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Pacific

Spread over more than 6,700 km (1/6 of the circumference of the Earth), the Pacific region brings together four OCTs and includes over 150 islands, of which about 100 atolls, more than 20% of atolls in the world. Marine biodiversity issues are particularly important. If reef ecosystems are generally in good condition, a major focus of the strategy will be the BEST adaptation to climate change to ensure that coastal ecosystems perform their duties on "coastal protection".

Sub-regions: French Polynesia/Pitcairn and New Caledonia/Wallis and Futuna

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Main characteristics of the Region

  • Four Overseas Entities: French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna and Pitcairn. There have the European status of OCT (overseas and country territory)
  • 12 ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States) countries
  • Most of the Pacific islands lying south of the Tropic of Cancer are collectively referred to as Oceania. These islands are traditionally grouped into the three divisions of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. The islands of Oceania are classified into two groups, high islands and low islands. Subtropical climate with frequent tropical cyclones. Annual rainfall typically ranges between 1,000 and 3,000 mm depending on the area. Most rains fall between December and March. The number of clear days per year varies approximately between 80 and 125, and the typical temperature variations through the year are 18–27 °C. especially between January and April.
  • Pacific Oceanscape total land area = 815,000 km2
  • Pacific Oceanscape total marine area = 40 million km2 

There are 3 BEST projects in the hub (2 funded in 2011 (New Caledonia and French Polynesia) and 1 funded in 2012) and INTEGRE project (involving all Europe Overseas in the Pacific) representing about 12 Million Euros. 

2 CEPF projects are developed in the region (Eastern Melanesia hotspot project and Polynesia Micronesia hotspot project) 

Main challenges

  • Protected areas
  • Invasive Alien Species
  • Turn towards sustainable management of natural resources (fishing, mining…) 

Importance for the Region to be involved in the BEST initiative 

OCTS are not eligible for international funding of public development aid. Pitcairn and French Polynesia are, maybe more than the others Overseas entities, isolated. The involvement in the BEST initiative will be a good opportunity to share and capitalize experiences. No European adapted funding for the environment has been initiated in OCTs before the BEST initiative. The consolidation of a consistent network of protected areas to meet the challenges of biodiversity conservation in Pacific, monitoring tools development for effective management and collegial governance structure laying a solid foundation for the sustainable management of natural resources in these overseas territories, will calibrate the terms of a European emerging process conciliating the socio-economic and environmental challenges of the future.

Useful links: 

 

Sub-region - French Polynesia / Pitcairn

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Main characteristics of the Region

  • Two Overseas entities: French Polynesia and Pitcairn, which both have the European status of OCTs (Overseas Countries and Territories)
  • French Polynesia total land area = 118 islands covering 4,200 km²
  • French Polynesia total marine area = 5,500,000 de km²
  • Pitcairn total land area = 47 km²
  • Pitcairn total marine area =  836 000 km2

Socioeconomic, Policy and Civil Society Context

  • French Polynesia Total population : 270,000
  • Pitcairn Total population : 67
  • French Polynesia GDP = 23,843 USD per capita/year
  • Pitcairn GDP = NA

Facts and Figures

French Polynesia Total Threatened species: 173 species are considered as threatened, 47 plants and 32 birds.

French Polynesia Total number of 2030 endemic species: 551 plants, 27 birds, 14 freshwater fishes, 61% of invertebrates.

French Polynesia’s protected areas:

  • 16 terrestrial protected areas representing 4.2% of the Total land area
  • 30 marine protected areas representing 0.07% of the Total marine area 

There is no existing Protected area in Pitcairn, but there is a project to create a large MPA, covering the whole EEZ. 

There are 2 BEST projects (“network of sustainable management of protection areas and concrete actions for the protection and the recovery of endangered birds in French Polynesia” 2011 and PACIOCEA, 2012) and INTEGRE project (involving all Europe Overseas in the Pacific) representing about 12 Million Euros. 

Main challenges

French Polynesia :

Knowledge is lacking to clarify the conservation status of species and the level of degradation of their habitat.

Sustainable and rational management of biodiversity and ecosystem services in French Polynesia through the establishment of a network of key sites with management plans.

Perennial funding for biodiversity is a crucial need, especially for NGOs. 

Today the protected area network from French Polynesia and Pitcairn are very deficient.

 

Sub-region - New Caledonia / Wallis and Futuna

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Main characteristics

  • Two Overseas Entities: New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna. There have both the European status of OCT (overseas and country territory)
  • New Caledonia total land area = 18,576 km2
  • New Caledonia total marine area = 1,4 million km2
  • Wallis and Futuna total land area = 142 km2
  • Wallis and Futuna total marine area = 271,000 km2 

Socioeconomic, Policy and Civil Society Context

  • New Caledonia Total population : 260,000
  • Wallis and Futuna Total population : 15,500
  • New Caledonia GDP = 38,921 USD per capita/year
  • Wallis and Futuna GDP = 12,640 USD per capita/year
  • Pacific Island Forum, South Pacific Regional Environment Program, Secretariat of the Pacific Commission 

Facts and Figures

New Caledonia Total Threatened species: 641 species are considered as threatened, 392 plants, 53 reptiles and 15 birds.

Wallis and Futuna Total Threatened species: 75 species are considered threatened (71 Vulnerable, 3 Critically Endangered, 1 Endangered) 

New Caledonia Total number of endemic species: 2411 plants, 84 reptiles, 21 birds, 11 freshwater fishes, 6 mammals (flying fox), 90% of invertebrates.

Wallis and Futuna Total number of endemic species: 7 plants and 11 mollusks, Wallis and Futuna biological diversity is limited due to the geological youth of its islands (2 million years) and their extreme geographical isolation. 

New Caledonia’s protected areas:

  • 32 terrestrial protected areas representing 6,5% of the Total land area
  • 34 marine protected areas representing 96% of the Total marine area

Wallis and Futuna’s protected areas:

  • 1 terrestrial protected area and less than 1% of the Total land area
  • 0 marine protected areas representing 0 % of the Total marine area 

There are no existing transboundary Protected areas. 

There are 2 BEST projects (GREEN NC and PACIOCEA). On the 11th EDF Territorial allocation of € 19.6 million is given to Wallis and Futuna. By the end of this year, the country will have to decide on the area of cooperation under the 2014-2020 funding cycle, and the proposed approach, "budget support" or "project approach". 

1 CEPF project is developed in the sub-region (Eastern Melanesia hotspot project) 

Main challenges

Wallis and Futuna:

Knowledge is lacking to clarify the conservation status of species and the level of degradation of their habitat. Deforestation (only 10% of the original forests remain) largely as a result of the continued use of wood as the main fuel source; Erosion and loss of soil fertility, resulting from agricultural practices and by burning fallow, are among the major environmental problems of the country. Turbidity and eutrophication caused by erosion are part of the pressure causing degradation. Significant coral bleaching was observed up to 20 meters deep, but there was no assessment of mortality. A rise in sea level could affect mangroves and coastal ecosystems of the area. The first signs of coastal erosion were observed in Wallis with the disappearance of some beaches and coconut grubbing. A significant rise in sea level could affect the traditional cultures of taro which occupies an important place in the economy of Wallis and Futuna. Finally, salt water infiltration into the water table is likely to put greater pressure on Wallis and Futuna’s already limited freshwater supplies, and to affect the local population. 

New Caledonia:

Sustainable and rational management of biodiversity and ecosystem services in New Caledonia through the establishment of a network of key sites with tailored management plans. Improving knowledge, support the actions of management of natural environments and promote a collegial governance will (i) identify a network of areas Caledonian major ecological interest, (ii) enhance the functionality of the existing network of protected areas and (iii) support capabilities of collegial governance. 

Today the protected area network from New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna are the most deficient of the French Republic in spite that these territories have a rich and varied natural capital.