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MELANESIAN islands have thousands of plants and animals found no-where else on earth.
Pacific islanders are pioneering new ways to ensure these living things we depend on do not perish from this earth.
Solomon Islands is the first Melanesian country to host the Pacific Islands Community Co-management Course on conservation (PICCC).
Seventeen managers and practitioners from three East Melanesian countries: Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands met in Honiara early this year for phase one of the course.
The next phase of the course involved a six months period where the participants went back to their own countries to try out the new tools they had learned and have now returned to Honiara to discuss their experiences.
The Eastern Melanesian Islands have 3,000 unique plants that our people have used for thousands of years for food, housing, medicines and many other things.
Many of these plants (and also animals) are becoming rare due to threats such as logging and poor farming practices.
This requires urgent action. The PICCC group is learning the best ways to work with communities to fight these threats.
Country coordinator of the course is Chief Executive Officer of the Solomon Islands Community Conservation Partnership (SICCP) Ms Senoveva Mauli.
The course is taught mainly by lecturers from the University of South Pacific.
Successful completion of this course can earn credit points for participants who wish to further their studies.
A large regional program on the protection and management of biodiversity, Biodiversity Protected Area Management (BioPAMA) has offered its sponsorship of the course for the next five years.
The Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund for East Melanesian Islands has offered special funding to teach the course in Honiara because we must save the critical hot spots in this part of the World.
The participants are expected to return to their countries and use the skills and tools they have learnt to progress community-based conservation efforts in their countries.
Course participant Remmy Papae from Marovo Lagoon said:
“I’m really delighted when we involve the communities more, they really get excited about the new resource management approaches.”
By SENOVEVA MAULI
Chief Executive Officer
Solomon Islands Community Conservation Partnership