On Tuesday 29th September, the United States Ambassador of America to Papua New Guinea, His Excellency Walter E. North officially opened the Mangoro Bung successfully hosted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the USAID Mangroves Rehabilitation for the Sustainability of Healthy Forests (MARSH) and partners at the Laguna Hotel in Port Moresby. The Mangoro Bung was the final activity of the MARSH project.
Since its inception three years ago, the MARSH project objective has been to empower communities and increase capacities of national institutions in the rehabilitation and management of mangrove forest to increase resilience to the impact of climate change. Implementation has been in twenty three sites in the five provinces of National Capital District, Central, Manus, West New Britain and New Ireland. In keeping with the change in focus of USAID from community-level engagement to national-level engagement, the Mangoro Bung was the final national activity of the MARSH project.
The forum allowed all stakeholders working on mangrove conservation in PNG to present their work to date and to strategise on the formulation of a national mangrove policy. The meeting also allowed the MARSH partners to present project results, best practice, lessons learnt and knowledge products with key government agencies and stakeholders.
Discussions highlighted the different agencies working to address and share ideas as to how both the private and public agencies can save PNG’s decreasing mangrove forests. Questions were also raised to put in place a legal framework so legislation can be upheld.
The Mangoro Bung successfully endorsed that an interim National Mangrove Committee be formed that will work with Conservation Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) using the existing structure for a legislative review and to continue discussions on behalf of the government.
According to Ken Mondiai, Executive Director of Partners with Melanesians, "From the discussions that have been going on today, the government agencies are very keen on taking this on-board and developing it into a fully framed mangrove policy and we as implementers on the ground have direct link with the community. Once the policy is in place and programmes are developed, we will continue to work with government partners and the communities.”
Despite the challenges, the MARSH partners were very pleased to have ended the project on a high note. The one day event was facilitated by Mr Paul Lokani, who has been involved with the MARSH project since 2014, with good representation by the Government agencies and community representatives.
“I am very impressed and satisfied with the MARSH project and two things that stood out was the great involvement of the local partners and allowing the local partners to do what is best for PNG in relating to implementation opportunities,” said Paul Lokani, Mangoro Bung Facilitator.
For more information, contact Dr. Milika Sobey, Programme Coordinator, Water and Wetlands. [email protected]