Uniting an Ocean of Islands: Scaling Up Conservation through Peer Learning Networks

Encompassing vast proportions of Earth´s ocean ecosystems and embracing incredible cultural diversity, Small Island Developing Nations face unprecedented challenges in conserving biodiversity and enhancing resiliency to climatic changes. Since conventional management models rarely prioritize diffusion of innovation and learning across regions, networks of practitioners can be a tool to encourage innovation and rapid adoption and adaptation of practical solutions. Well executed networks endure far beyond individual project life and stimulate collaborative socio-economic and ecological problem solving. Through cost- effective, cross boundary networks, conservation lessons, tools and strategies spread quickly, decreasing investment of scarce resources ´reinventing the wheel´. This contributes to geographic scaling and to long-lasting impact as useful approaches are adapted throughout a region. Established through peer learning and relationship-building, trust facilitates the acceptance and adaptation of new ideas and experiments, and spurs enabling conditions that mobilize high-level conservation initiatives.
Hosted by representatives of networks focused on leadership development, community protected areas, invasive species and watershed management, the workshop will encompass sharing lessons learned in building and sustaining networks while engaging audience participation in considering how global or nascent networks can move conservation goals forward. The audience has the unique opportunity to hear direct insights and discoveries of several well established Pacific Island networks; Locally Marine Managed Area Network, Hawaii Community Stewardship Network, Pacific Islands Managed and Protected Areas Community, Hawaii Conservation Alliance, Micronesians in Islands Conservation, Pacific Invasives Partnership, Hawaii Invasive Species Council, Babeldaob Watershed Alliance, and Hawaii Association of Watershed Partnerships. Engaging thousands of conservation practitioners in the region, these networks strengthen regional cooperation by generating cultural connections, sharing conservation experiences and resources, and promoting our islands´ sustainability. It is expected that participants will broaden their own professional network and panel members will develop lasting productive partnerships towards synergies and conservation solutions beyond the conference.

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