In opening remarks to officially open the three-day round table meeting on Wednesday, Mr Manetoali highlighted the potential of East Rennell.
“The potential for this asset to be a major tourism draw card is immense and very well within our reach.
“Let us work together to realize this potential,” he remarked.
He said the World Heritage Program is a top priority of the DCC Government.
“A Cabinet paper has been jointly approved which is jointly presented by Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
“The Cabinet paper highlighted that Ministry of Environment and partner Ministry of Culture and Tourism give priority attention to implementing DCCG policy (126.96.36.199(h):Promote and Protect World Heritage Sites in the country,” Mr Manetoali said.
He said the Cabinet paper highlighted recent government re-engagement with people of East Rennell with the intention of removing the site from the in-danger list and to protect and promote the heritage site.
“It is expected that this meeting will aim to devise the way forward to remove the East Rennell World Heritage Site from the in-danger list.
“And furthermore, the cabinet noted the importance of working with the Heritage Association and key stakeholders to declare the site as protected under the Protected Areas Act.
“The Cabinet also noted the need for road improvement for ease of access,” Mr Manetoali said adding the need for a formulation of a long-term environmental management and tourism development programmes for the site.
The Minister of Environment and Conservation reiterates that the round table meeting must be focused on how best to move the development agenda for East Rennell Site forward through a holistic approach.
“I am confident that you will come up with a blue print that will pave the way forward for East Rennel World Heritage Site Development,” Mr Manetoali said.
The high level round table meeting ends tomorrow.
By TEDDY KAFO