A dialogue between Solomon Islands Government (SIG), Partners and East Rennell Indigenous People (ERIP) has successfully ended in Honiara, Friday.
The meeting which was held at Mendana Hotel was concluded with an MoU signing and resolutions from the SIG line ministries, partners and ERIP representatives in Honiara.
Speaking during the dialogue was the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Culture & Tourism, Mr. Andrew Nihopara.
He was also the Chairman of the meeting.
The meeting was called by the Solomon Islands Core Team for World Heritage Site in East Rennell.
The Solomon Islands Core Team for World Heritage Site in East Rennell was established after a first cabinet paper was submitted jointly by the three ministries in 2016 – seeking SIG on recommitment on World Heritage Site in East Rennell.
Nihopara said natural, cultural and historical heritage is very important to the Solomon Islands.
“East Rennell has been instigated as the world heritage site in 1998.
“The Solomon Islands as the state to the convention strongly supported as a mechanism to encourage the identification, protection, and preservation of only SI outstanding culture and natural heritage site.
“East Rennell Heritage Site was the first site to be inscribed base on national criteria under customary ownership and management,” he said.
The landscape in East Rennell has a significant influence on its history and culture and continues to be the source of strength for the people living in East Rennell which Lake Tegano is the center, he added.
For the people of East Rennell, the lake has deep cultural and spiritual importance.
“It was for that reason that the Solomon Islands strongly supported the designation as the first SI customary owned lake on the World Heritage list.”
Nihopara said, though the core team has considered the need to extend the country’s list of the world heritage site, there is a need for the government to recognized the importance of the declared sites for the world heritage in the country.
“As alluded earlier, the 2016 cabinet paper was again purposely to seek government recommitment and recognition for the very important asset that we have in the country which is the World Heritage Site in East Rennell, Lake Tegano,” he said.
East Rennell is included in more than heritage site which is in danger.
And the Solomon Islands Core Team for World Heritage Site in East Rennell is making an urgent dialogue meeting to find possible ways to restore its natural resource.
It has been identified that logging, mining and other human development in Rennell has endangered Lake Tegano.
“The threat of logging in East Rennell deflects the natural value of the island and its surrounding features,” Nihopara said.
Meanwhile, Lake Tegano was listed as in danger in 2013.
Lake Tegano in East Rennell is in danger because of Logging, mining, invasion species (rats), overexploitation land and marine resources, climate change and administration of the property.
By LACHLAN S. EDDIE