27 July 2018/SPREP And WWF Seal Partnership For Environmental Work In Macuata Province, Fiji

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the World Wildlife Fund – Pacific signed an agreement this week in Suva, Fiji to work together to support two major environmental activities for Macuata province in Fiji.

The first is to review and update the provincial Natural Resource Management Strategy (NRMS), and the second is to broaden the Qoliqoli Cokovata Ramsar management plan to include management of land-based activities with an emphasis on the Dreketi river catchment.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, SPREP’s Acting Deputy Director General, Strategic Policy and Technical Programmes and Director of Island and Ocean Ecosystems, Mr. Stuart Chape welcomed the partnership as a great achievement to advance environmental work at the provincial level.

Mr Chape also acknowledged WWF-Pacific’s reputable work in Macuata province.

“SPREP’s approach is not to re-invent the wheel but work with existing expertise on the ground. The signing of the agreement today reflects this perspective and we look forward to embarking on this partnership with WWF.”

“WWF was instrumental in facilitating the provincial Natural Resource Management Strategy and Macuata Province is the only province in Fiji to have such a strategy/plan. WWF has an active programme of support to the customary coastal fishing grounds (qoliqoli) that lie adjacent to much of Macuata Province’s coastline. The largest qoliqoli (Qoliqoli Cokovata) is being viewed by government and conservation stakeholders as a priority entry point in having the Great Sea Reef established as a Ramsar site.”

“WWF is therefore a logical and appropriate choice as local partner for the joint implementation of PEBACC in Macuata province.” Mr Chape said.

In her remarks, WWF–Pacific Representative, Mrs Kesaia Tabunakawai thanked SPREP for the funding support through the Pacific Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Climate Change Project (PEBACC) and confirmed WWF’s commitment to the work in Macuata.

“We are committed to helping Macuata province. When we developed the current Macuata natural resource management strategy, it was broad and it is now time to go back and see what was achieved and what was not and also learn about new developments.” Mrs Tabunakawai said.

The signing ceremony was also witnessed by Roko Tui Macuata’s representative, Provincial Conservation Officer, Makelesi Raciri.

“On behalf of Roko Tui Macuata, I would like to thank SPREP and WWF for the support to strengthen sustainable resource management in Macuata with a focus on land use and conservation. We look forward to the opportunity to work with you.” Ms Raciri said.

Part of the work through this partnership will focus on reviewing and updating the Macuata NRMS that ends in 2018. The NRMS is key to strengthening environmental planning and management, and hence ecosystem-based adaptation, across the province.

The second intervention will address land-based activities in the Dreketi river catchment that negatively impact on the health and condition of Qoliqoli Cokovata.

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