The Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) took place from 1-4 September 2014, in Apia, Samoa, on the theme of "The Sustainable Development of SIDS Through Genuine and Durable Partnerships." The Conference produced an outcome document, titled "SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway," which was negotiated during the preparatory process at UN Headquarters in New York, US, and adopted during the closing plenary.

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ICRI News

The world is losing its mangroves at a faster rate than global deforestation, the United Nations revealed today, adding that the destruction of the coastal habitats was costing billions in economic damages and impacting millions of lives.

In a new report launched today at the 16th Global Meeting of the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans, held in Athens, Greece, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned that the deforestation of the planet’s mangroves was exceeding average global forest loss by a rate of three to five times, resulting in economic damages of up to $42 billion annually and exposing ecosystems and coastal habitats to an increased risk of devastation from climate change.

The Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has released two reports on "Ecologically or Biological Significant Areas (EBSAs): Special places in the world's oceans," which describe areas that meet EBSA criteria from the Western South Pacific and from the Wider Caribbean and Western Mid-Atlantic. The reports identify ocean areas "that are most crucial to the health functioning of the global marine ecosystem," with the aim of identifying areas in which to focus and prioritize marine conservation and management.

On Sunday 14th September, five species of sharks and two manta ray species received protection under the United Nation’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) when formal measures to regulate their international trade come into effect.

The five sharks and two manta rays species include Scalloped Hammerhead Shark Sphyrna lewini, Great Hammerhead Shark Sphyrna mokarran, Smooth Hammerhead Shark Sphyrna zygaena, Oceanic Whitetip Shark Carcharinus longimanus, Porbeagle Shark Lamna nasus and manta rays Manta spp.

All the sharks except Porbeagle are caught for their fins, which are exported to East Asia, especially Hong Kong, where they are the key ingredient in sharks-fin soup, an expensive, but popular delicacy.

Tropical and small island developing States (SIDS) are most at risk from exposure and vulnerability to coastal hazards, according to ‘Coasts at Risk: An Assessment of Coastal Risks and the Role of Environmental Solutions.' The report uses an indicator-based approach to assess risks from exposure and vulnerability to coastal hazards and identifies where environmental degradation increases these risks. The report then considers how environmental solutions, such as conservation and restoration, can contribute to risk reduction and conservation goals.

Most Caribbean coral reefs will disappear in 20 years if we don't restore the population of fish that eat seaweed, as Caribbean reefs are gradually getting smothered by algae. This is the message of the new report: Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs: 1970-2012 released today as the result of a three-year joint effort of the International Coral Reef Initiative’s (ICRI) Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).

Washington, 27 June 2014 — The Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the World Bank has contributed US$7.2 million to the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF) to promote the conservation, protection, management and expansion of national protected area systems and other areas of biodiversity significance across the Eastern Caribbean region.

The marine and coastal resources of the Caribbean—its coral reefs, beaches, fisheries and mangroves—serve as an essential economic engine. However, unsustainable coastal development, climate change and overfishing, as well as land-based sources of sediment and pollution are negatively impacting the region’s marine and coastal ecosystems.

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