HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – State Senator Mike Gabbard (Dist. 20 - Kapolei, Makakilo, and portions of ‘Ewa, Kalaeloa, and Waipahu) had the opportunity to showcase the Legislature’s progressive efforts in conservation and environmental protection at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress (WCC).

Held every four years, the WCC is considered the Superbowl of conservation events. This was the first time in its 60-year history the WCC was hosted in the United States and a record 10,000 delegates from 192 countries participated in the 10-day conference.

Sen. Gabbard was a panelist on the Aha Moku Advisory Committee on Sept. 4. The Legislature passed HB2806 in 2012, which became Act 288, setting up the advisory committee to provide the DLNR a systematic way to incorporate native Hawaiian knowledge of land and water management into its more western-based decision process. The Aha Moku is unique in that there is no other similar entity in the United States.

As chair of the Senate Committee on Land and Water, Sen. Gabbard shared how respect for cultural practices and natural resources are meshed with the goals of the Aloha+ Challenge, which set six ambitious sustainability goals by 2030. The value of kakou (people working together) of the Aha Moku are also being considered and is consistent with the state’s renewable energy goal of 100% renewable energy. Incorporating traditional cultural knowledge of native species is being included in addressing the invasive species problem statewide.

“Aha Moku presents our state with an awesome opportunity to incorporate Native Hawaiian cultural knowledge into the very fabric of our state policy making process,” Sen. Gabbard told the crowd. “On a more global scale, the incorporation of indigenous culture knowledge into decision making will make our world a more sustainable and peaceful place to live for future generations.”

Sen. Gabbard was also an invited speaker at the IUCN luncheon celebrating the signing of Act 125 into law, which is the most comprehensive anti-wildlife trafficking bill in the nation. Sen. Gabbard introduced the bill during the last legislative session, which recognized studies that showed Hawai‘i had the nation’s third largest market for ivory, after New York and California.





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