The IBPOW has put in writing at the highest level the critical importance of island biodiversity as foundation for sustainable development, its highly threatened status, and clear targets for action, which, although often hard to measure, are guidelines for all our work in both the actual conservation as well as awareness raising of the issues, without which all our program of mainstreaming will fail. Although it is hard to actually measure, by having the problems and goals clearly stated, has given credence and input to our teaching, research and awareness programs that are slowly providing the human resources and the understanding of the issues required to achieve the targets, successfully implement sustainable initiatives and to "mainstream" biodiversity conservation.
Perhaps, the most glaring gap is the formal commitment in the IBPOW, under knowledge management and capacity building, to set clear fundable targets on support for the formal training of conservation and biodiversity-based sustainable development scientists in island countries. As a result, many of the conservation initiatives that have been implemented using the leverage of the IBPOW, do not have a clear component that funds undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships in fields that will insure the sustainability of biodiversity conservation in the region. As a result, the best regional island biodiversity scientists, are often scooped up by international and regional NGOs, leaving skeleton crews on deck in the ministries that are supposed to implement NBSAPS and achieve the targets of the IBPOW. In short, for the long-term success of IB conservation, we must have a systematic plant for continued human resource development to support it.
There is also a need for clear direction and goals for the mainstreaming of island biodiversity studies in the school curricula at all levels, as a basis for producing future leaders who understand the issues.
posted on 2011-12-01 22:22 UTC by Dr Randolph Thaman, University of the South Paicifc