Natural capital is a key measure of sustainable development

The event explored the intersection of sustainable development, conservation, and economic prosperity. Attendees engaged with global experts to discuss innovative strategies for integrating ecosystem services into policy and practice.
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Fred Nicholas shares his highlights from the recent People, Planet and Prosperity (3Ps) Forum 2024 and Natural Capital Symposium 2024, hosted by Stanford University’s Natural Capital Project earlier this month in California. This event saw the participation of the Cook Islands delegation, including Fred Nicholas (NES), Andre Tuiravakai (MFEM), and Lavinia Tama (ADB).

The 3Ps Forum focused on policy, finance, and practical pathways to integrating natural capital. The Natural Capital Symposium from June 4-7 featured keynote speakers, thematic sessions, panel discussions, and poster sessions showcasing cutting-edge research.

The event explored the intersection of sustainable development, conservation, and economic prosperity. Attendees engaged with global experts to discuss innovative strategies for integrating ecosystem services into policy and practice.

Key themes included valuing ecosystem goods and services with a focus on the Gross Ecosystem Product (GEP), mainstreaming biodiversity to halt species loss, and sustainable water management. Discussions also highlighted blue natural capital, ocean sustainability, and the impact of land use changes on disease dynamics. Equity, justice, and reciprocal relationships with nature were central to the discussions, emphasizing bio-cultural values in conservation. Attendees benefited from training on ecosystem services assessments and InVEST modeling.

Notable sessions included welcome remarks from global leaders, pilot country highlights from Belize, Chile, China, and the Cook Islands, and thematic sessions on KPIs, financing mechanisms, and urban nature and health. Keynote speakers such as Chris Schell from UC Berkeley discussed cities’ roles in biodiversity conservation, while Mary Ruckelshaus and Adrian Vogl from the Stanford Natural Capital Project highlighted new work with multilateral development banks.

The 3Ps Forum and Natural Capital Symposium 2024 provided an invaluable opportunity to learn from leading experts, network with peers, and discover new approaches to sustainability and conservation

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The National Environment Service is established to protect, conserve and ensure the Cook Islands environment is managed sustainably. The agency is headed by a Director with delegated powers to carry out the functions of the Environment Act 2003.

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