In August-September 2016, three special interest group meetings were held with tāngata whenua, statutory agencies and the conservation community. At these meetings 38 outcomes and 33 actions were identified (Action Plan Appendix 2). These were refined and prioritised to 6 immediate steps, which will make the most impact with least complexity and are the focus of the Action Plan 2017-20.
Ecosystem mapping and ecological prioritisation underpins all the other priority actions, so has been started first.
There are four key steps to this priority action:
This action directly contributes to the goal under the NZ Biodiversity Strategy to maintain and restore a full range of remaining natural habitats and ecosystems; this in turn fulfills New Zealand's obligation under global frameworks, especially the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The Strategy has a key objective to recognise ' indigenous biodiversity as a taonga to be protected for future generations".
Developing a cultural framework with tangata whenua is important to help identify, map and assess the condition of taonga (treasured) biodiversity sites using Mātauranga Māori values and tools. Indigenous knowledge increases our understanding of habitats and species.
Critical to the success of the 30+ year strategy is the need to have a means to directly engage with the community and to have oversight of the Strategy. These actions have been completed.
The Strategy recognises that statutory agencies have an essential role in the delivery of biodiversity programmes - councils, government agencies, iwi organisations and non-government agencies.
They have a range of statutory responsibilities they must deliver and guaranteed funding streams. This Priority Action also recognises that biodiversity is complex, involving technical and social changes, with multiple causes and stakeholders, and therefore collaboration and relationship-building is essential for solutions to be successful.
The coordination between agencies will help speed up work in these areas:
Conservation is about people. Biodiversity is everyone's responsibility and we already have so many people involved. But how to bring so many people who are involved to share ideas, learn new skills and work together? Our solution is to hold a Biodiversity Forum once or twice a year.
The Forum will be a central place where anyone and everyone involved or interested in biodiversity in Hawke's Bay can come together. It will be a tool to educate and also to advocate for biodiversity. It will help create opportunities for people to connect, coordinate and collaborate on projects, to report progress and achievements, and to encourage activities to promote further biodiversity outcomes.
Within the Forum we expect to provide special events such as inspiring guest speakers, field trips and workshops, youth-focussed events, discussions and speakers.
We optimistically planned an inaugural event for late 2017, but this will now be held in late 2018 so the Guardians have time to establish and plan a quality event. Check here for updates ....
The Strategy and Action Plan particularly recognise that landowners - especially farmers - are a critical group for the success of biodiversity in Hawke's Bay, as much of the rare and threatened native biodiversity is on privately owned rural and urban land.
We want to work alongside landowners to protect and promote habitat restoration. We will learn from them about their challenges and successes and explore current practices that are working in other regions at an informal workshop during 2018, and annually after that.
This may also include developing new incentives for habitat protection and restoration.
From the workshop, a plan will be developed from landowner knowledge, solutions and investigation.
Check here for updates....
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