Governor Ige, Chair Case & Chipper Wichman Reflect on One Canoe Navigating Island Earth
“Clearly Hawai‘i’s commitments to conservation and sustainability are aligned with the world’s priorities and with the strategic issues of importance to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN),” observed Governor David Ige, on this last day of the IUCN World Conservation Congress, Hawai‘i 2016. Thousands of delegates and members from 192 member countries spent the last ten days in Hawai‘i at the planet’s most important and high-level conservation gathering. Governor Ige deemed it a tremendous success and thanked the countless state and federal agencies, elected officials, conservation organizations, and volunteers who consistently spread the message: “What is clear now, more than ever before, is that we are in this together – one canoe navigating Island Earth.”
The Congress provided dozens of opportunities to share the message of aloha and mālama honua and to show the world why Hawai’i is so special–our people, our culture, and our place. At the opening ceremony Governor Ige emphasized this continuing theme by announcing the State’s Sustainable Hawai‘i Initiative. It includes the Governor’s commitment to protect 30% of our priority watersheds and effectively manage 30% of our nearshore ocean waters by 2030. Governor Ige remarked, “My Sustainable Hawai‘i Initiative, and the efforts of the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and all of our partners, are very much in line with the global agenda discussed during the IUCN Member’s Assembly. Effective management of our lands and ocean and the importance of youth and indigenous culture to conservation efforts were focal points of discussion. By fulfilling our promises here in Hawai‘i, we are directly contributing to the global agenda of achieving a more resilient and sustainable Island Earth.”
During the World Conservation Congress, the Governor also announced that Hawai‘i is joining the Global Island Partnershipand will take the Aloha+ Challenge sustainability model to other island communities. These efforts were supported through one of the seven Hawai‘i motions, drafted by students from the University of Hawai‘i Richardson School of Law, that received international support and were passed unanimously at the Congress.
“The Congress created an unprecedented opportunity to build on the successes of DLNR and other state agencies, the legislature and our many partners, to show the world that we are committed to our core conservation programs and to maintaining our unique way of life,” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case. She added, “In the days leading up to the Congress and over the past ten days Hawai‘i’s conservation efforts received an unparalleled level of attention and awareness. Now the challenge is to continue the momentum created by this experience and engage every single person in Hawai‘i and our millions of visitors in doing their part to help protect, preserve, and restore the natural and cultural attributes that make our island home such a special place.”
“The World Conservation Congress is a beginning not an end,” said Chipper Wichman the National Host Committee Vice-Chair. “Our planet is indeed at a crossroads (the theme of the Congress), and we’ve proven that Hawai‘i has the heart and the capacity to choose our path and be instrumental in helping lead the world toward a brighter, more sustainable future,” he added. “Success today, relies in many ways on the lessons of our past; our ancestors made the inextricable link between nature and culture. Now we must continue to make that same link between nature and culture and the economic vitality of Hawai‘i and the enhancement of our quality of life.”