Niue National Biodiversity Strategic & Action Plan
Niue is characterised as the single largest uplifted coral atoll in the world, yet in contrast it is the smallest self-governing nation. It is a unique island with its elevated rugged coastline and extensive forest cover, which comprises 65% to 70% of the land area, approximately 8.7 hectares per capita. While Niue is primarily an agriculturally based economy, the value of the country’s uniqueness and unspoilt environment has been realised, and Niue is marketed as an eco-tourism/adventure tourism destination.
Niue is an environmentally friendly nation in which conservation and the sustainable management of resources is an integral part of the life style of the people. This is exemplified by Niue ratifying the Convention on Biological
Diversity along with its sister conventions, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. Niue’s commitment to sustain and effectively manage its environment was reflected in the development of the National Environment Management Strategy in 1992, its first National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) in 2001, and this second NBSAP.
The country’s key planning document, the Niue National Strategic Plan 2014-2019 (NNSP) has ‘Environment’ as one of its seven National Development Pillars with the following wording: ‘Sustainable use and management of Niue’s natural resources and environment for present and future generations’. The Government has recently changed its departmental structure to enhance delivery of its strategy. This included the merging of the three agencies with particular involvement in biodiversity conservation, the Department of Environment, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Niue Meteorological Service into a single agency, the Ministry of Natural Resources.
This NBSAP’s Vision is: ‘Niue is an environmentally friendly nation in which conservation and the sustainable management of biological resources support all the living community.’
Its Action Plan is grouped under eight themes: conservation and sustainable management of terrestrial habitats; conservation of terrestrial species; conservation and sustainable management of marine ecosystems and species; management of invasive species; management of waste and pollution; management of water resources; climate change; and traditional knowledge and access to benefit sharing. The Action Plan reflects that there has been considerable activity since the first NBSAP was developed in 2001 resulting in many of its actions being completed. In particular, there is now more detailed information on the nation’s biodiversity and the issues that threaten it, to inform the new strategy. However there remains much to do and new challenges have been identified such as climate change. This second NBSAP also includes four brief strategies on Mainstreaming; Communication and Outreach; Resource Mobilisation; and Capacity Development to assist with its implementation.