Saturday, April 13, 2024

New plan to tackle biodiversity crisis

The Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy 2020 – Te Mana o te Taiao – now has an accompanying implementation plan, aimed at driving collective action to tackle New Zealand’s biodiversity crisis.

“It is the first time key conservation activities across all government departments and regional councils have been identified in a plan of action to protect our native plants and wildlife,” Conservation Minister, Kiri Allan said today.

The plan’s immediate focus is to stimulate and sustain nationwide action to achieve outcomes over the next 30 years. But it also prioritises specific goals set down in the strategy to be completed by 2025, the Minister said.

“The implementation plan signals greater coordination of conservation effort to achieve the goals of the biodiversity strategy – ecosystems and indigenous species thrive, people are enriched through their connection with nature, prosperity and a thriving biodiversity are linked, and Māori are exercising their role as rangatira and kaitiaki.”

“With 4,000 of our species threatened or at risk of extinction and increasing pressure from invasive pests, land and sea use, and climate change, we need to put our words into action,” Ms Allan said.

“We’ve already reached a few ‘getting the system right’ milestones. We now have an Oceans Secretariat to support the government’s commitment to a more holistic, integrated approach to managing our oceans. Māori are being supported through Jobs for Nature to partner or lead biodiversity restoration projects that meet their aspirations.”

She said the next move would be the establishment of an oversight group to advise on governance structures to achieve Te Mana o te Taiao.

“As Conservation Minister this is one of my top priorities. The implementation plan provides guidance on where to concentrate our efforts to bring about transformational change, including leadership and accountability for outcomes, monitoring and reporting, empowering community action, and protecting and restoring nature,” said Ms Allan.

“It also puts biodiversity protection at the heart of economic activity, including making sure tourism activities are sustainable and visitor impacts reduced at popular destinations. This can be achieved through the government’s tourism strategy, the Milford Opportunities Project, and working with regional councils to make biodiversity protection more economically attractive for landowners.”

It also integrates with other programmes across government, such as the One Billion Trees programme, Predator Free 2050 and Jobs for Nature.

“Over the next five years, people can expect to see a more coordinated and collaborative approach to biodiversity work from central and local government to achieve much-needed gains for nature,” Minister Allan said.

“Protecting our environment and biodiversity through working to achieve the outcomes of Te Mana o te Taiao, the Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy 2020 is an agreed area of co-operation between the Labour Government and the Green Party.”

Associate Minister for the Environment (Biodiversity) and Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw said the Government’s commitment to protect and improve nature will also help meet its climate change targets.

“Tackling the biodiversity crisis goes hand-in-hand with tackling the climate crisis. But for decades, successive Governments have approached these issues separately,” he said.

“We are changing that to better harness the power of nature to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and also help us adapt to the impacts of climate change.

“The Biodiversity Strategy and its implementation will go a long way towards achieving this goal.

“The Emissions Reduction Plan the Government publishes next month will also need to encourage nature-based solutions that can both protect our precious natural taonga and tackle climate change,” Minister Shaw said.

The implementation plan will be updated regularly to include actions in light of new information including any emerging threats or events. A five-yearly review of the implementation plan will evaluate progress.

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