Kopapa Ao Ora Natura (National Biodiversity Committee) is an informal group made up of key biodiversity-related government agencies and environment NGOs with the primary objective to provide advice and guidance on the conservation of the natural biodiversity and ecosystems of the Cook Islands. The Committee provide input and consider issues related to our environment and facilitate exchange of knowledge, experiences and good practices through a coordinated approach among biodiversity-related initiatives.
A KAON meeting was held on the 31st March and was well attended by more than 20 people. This was the first meeting of the year as meetings are held quarterly.
There was a number of agenda items discussed – those that stirred key discussion amongst members included species protection, the Palmerston island rat eradication project, and the issuing of CITES permits for international trade in species such as coral and shells. Agencies present at the meeting provided an update on biodiversity initiatives they are conducting, as well as work that they have conducted since the last meeting held in October 2022, such as marine surveys in Mitiaro.
NES will continue to work closely with the KAON members to strengthen coordination among biodiversity-related initiatives and improve efficiency and effectiveness of meetings.