On the 24th – 25th January 2023, the NES hosted the first ever “Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs) Workshop” in the Cook Islands and the Pacific Region, in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the UN Environment Programme – World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC).
The discussions of this workshop have been consolidated into a report, accessible via the Cook Islands Environment Data Portal
OECMs are geographically defined areas that are governed and managed in ways that sustain positive and sustained long-term biodiversity outcomes, which are not Protected Areas.
The workshop introduced and explored the concept of OECMs and the opportunities, benefits and drawbacks of recognizing and reporting OECM sites in the Cook Islands. There were discussions between conservation practitioners and decision makers that highlighted current conservation efforts in the Cook Islands and opportunities to elevate managed sites to an officially recognised status.
The Takitumu Conservation Area was identified as a good starting point for this work. NES will host discussions with the TCA stakeholders to begin the process of assessing the TCA as an OECM. Furthermore, NES will partner with UNEP-WCMC and SPREP to produce and distribute a discussion paper on the status and opportunities of OECMs in the Cook Islands.