By GABRIEL LAHOC
PACIFIC Island countries have been encouraged to conserve their genetic resources in their natural environment as part of food security in the region.
The call was made during the launch of the Western Pacific NARI-EU-African Caribbean Science and Technology programme, aimed at finding ways to conserve this potential for ethical and economical reasons.
The European Union’s acting head of delegation in PNG, Dr Kay Beese, said while international bodies and agreements like the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, or the Convention on Biological Diversity, can give guidance and support, only PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu themselves “can find the right way to conserve and utilise their own biological diversity”.
Dr Beese, a biologist, said successful conservation would only be achieved if the needs of the local people were considered.
“Biodiversity conservation needs the involvement of the villages and must help them to improve their livelihood.
“This complex relation between economic development, fight against poverty, improvement of rural livelihood and environment and biodiversity conservation requires strong links between development-related actions, which can only be achieved if development actions are fully within the governmental systems,” Dr Besse said.