Successes achieved from Fiji’s Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMA) were the backdrop of IUCN’s latest Water and Nature Initiative (WANI) workshop in Kadavu, Fiji 15-16 April. This community-based work successfully achieved the rehabilitation and protection of local Marine Protected Areas and coastal zones.
The project plan for WANI-2 in Kadavu focuses on building on the achievements of the project’s first phase by demonstrating practical approaches and restoration of the watershed catchment. The first phase aimed at improving people’s security and their livelihoods, enhanced through the sustainable management of their water resources. A major objective for WANI phase 2 is leadership and learning principles on sustainable management and poverty alleviation. This aim will be promoted through targeted capacity development, outreach and network facilitation.
Kadavu Island is situated 90 kilometres south of Fiji’s main island Viti Levu. Kadavu is renowned for its natural beauty and rugged landscapes, but due to rapid growth and infrastructure development on the island, the rich biodiversity of both marine and terrestrial resources are at stake.
The meeting was held in the village of Nakaugasele in the district of Nakasaleka in Kadavu. The visit was led by IUCN Oceania Water Programme Coordinator, Dr. Milika Sobey, and Environment Unit Manager, Dr. Bale Tamata from USP's Institute of Applied Sciences (IAS), an IUCN member.
“A major boost for the project was the large turnout and keen participation from community members. All 14 villages in the district of Nakasaleka were represented and agreed to the forming of a catchment committee. The highly-regarded village elders agreed to assign one official representative per village for the catchment committee”, said Dr Sobey.
Government officials were also present, including representatives from the department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture. The Provincial Council took part in sharing their knowledge on government policies and regulations relevant to watershed management. “We must extend and share further our project plans with heads of other relevant government authorities, informing them and seeking extended aid for on-ground site assistance, in partnership with IUCN’s WANI initiative”, Dr Bale from IAS-USP stated.
The Kadavu WANI 2 workshop has facilitated understanding and interaction for local village members, both in terms of environmental issues as well as policy proceedings. Local communities are now planning the implementation, monitoring and adaptive management plans towards the preservation of their watershed resources, including marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
WANI-2 is an 18 month project portfolio on watershed management in the Pacific region. Other project locations include the Nadi River Catchment Basin in eastern Viti Levu, Fiji, and the Togitogiga Watershed Catchment in Samoa.
For more information, please contact:
IUCN Oceania Water Programme Coordinator, Dr Milika Sobey
Head of Environment Unit, Institute of Applied Sciences, University of the South Pacific, Dr. Bale Tamata