IUCN Oceania hosted CEPF colleagues Jack Tordoff and Antonia Cermak-Terzian in Fiji during the week of 11th May 2014
This marked the first official supervision mission of CEPF to the IUCN office, where they met with key administration and program staff who are part of CEPF’s Regional Implementation Team for the East Melanesian Islands Hotspot. This was a timely visit where many good linkages were established through face to face meetings with Fiji based grantees. Other grantees had the opportunity to connect with CEPF and the RIT through an orientation call via Skype. Our team also met with other donors that work in the East Melanesian Islands to discuss potential linkages, fund leveraging opportunities and exchanged useful lessons about working in East Melanesia which comes with its own unique contexts.
Jack Tordoff commented during the visit: “Although many of the conservation issues facing the hotspot are common to other parts of the world - for example commercial logging and mining, expansion of subsistence and plantation agriculture, and impacts of invasive species and climate change - what really sets apart the East Melanesian Islands is the socio-cultural context for conservation which is characterized by exceptional levels of cultural and linguistic diversity, with many languages only spoken by a few hundred people”. He went on to add, “The result is that language and culture are disappearing quickly, eroding traditional knowledge and natural resource management practices. This is highly significant in a region where most land and resources are under customary ownership, and local people are true stewards of biodiversity”.
CEPF presented its funding opportunities at the Ma’afu Conservation Lecture Series organized by IUCN Oceania, which was attended by conservation partners, colleagues, donor representatives, CEPF grantees as well as high level representatives from the Diplomatic Missions for Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.