21 June 2012: The Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) hosted a leaders breakfast on 21 June 2012, on the sidelines of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The breakfast was attended by Heads of State or Government from Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Colombia, Grenada, Indonesia, and Seychelles, who announced new conservation commitments.

Antigua and Barbuda committed to protecting 20% of its near shore marine area and 15% of its terrestrial area by 2020, thereby formally joining the Caribbean Challenge Initiative. Australia made a national commitment to establish the world’s largest and most comprehensive network of marine reserves, placing over 3 million square kilometres of Australia’s oceans under conservation management. Colombia committed to establishing an innovative nationwide mitigation program ensuring that environmental impact compensation is made in the most strategic locations.

Grenada announced it will co-host a Caribbean Political and Business Leaders Summit with Richard Branson, along with Premiere Orlando Smith of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), in 2013. The Summit aims to build and expand on the Caribbean Challenge Initiative commitments. Indonesia committed to strengthening its efforts to build a “blue economy,” ensuring sustainable growth with equity in all oceans and coastal areas, and reaffirmed its leadership of the Coral Triangle Initiative for coastal livelihoods, food security and climate change. Seychelles said that, if it can complete a debt for adaptation to climate change swap, creating a funding stream of US$2.5 million per year, it will establish 30% of its coastal zone as marine protected areas, with half of this area in no take zones.

In addition to the government commitments, the Nippon Foundation committed to providing resources to nations that have made “blue economy” commitments at Rio+20, as well as to launching a new initiative involving a 10-year, high-level dialogue process, and the development of new programs to advance the sustainable use of ocean resources. [IISD RS Sources] [The Nature Conservancy Press Release] [GLISPA “Event Spotlight”]