First national environmental Symposium kicks off

The Environmental Symposium underway at the Heritage Park Hotel.

The country’s first national environmental symposium is underway in Honiara.

More than two hundred participants came together for the weeklong event that will include discussions of resource management approaches, science programs and research initiatives in the Solomon Islands over the past decade.

Environmental research had been conducted in the country for decades, but information was scattered and often presented in a way that was not widely understood.

The Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Samuel Manetoali stressed the significance of discussions at the symposium in sustaining the country’s marine resources and bio-diversity.

He said his ministry will use information collected from the symposium for the country’s third state of the environment report.

“As important stakeholders,we very much anticipate your valuable contribution towards this project,” he said.

A log pond in Marovo lagoon.

“The local bio diversity strategy and action plan is equivalent to the country’s State of Environment report.”

The Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology has produced two reports on the state of the environment- the first in 1993 and the other in 2008.

Mr Manetoali said, they both raised the issue of the lack of “relevant and credible information.”

Meanwhile, Mr Manetoali said most of the country’s biodiversity remain undiscovered and threatened, though researchers have made some progress.

According to what had been discovered over the decades, Solomon Islands had 80 species of reptiles.

One third of the reptiles were endemic, and five were identified as threatened species.

A red lorikeet – Native to the Solomon Islands.

The country had at least fifty-one native mammal species, with nearly twenty endemic and another twenty identified as threatened.

Mr Manetoali said , even the birds found in land, were very unique.

“Of the one hundred and sixty-three species of land birds that breed in the Solomon Islands, seventy-two are found no where else in the world,” he said.

“At least one hundred and thirty species of butterflies is described for the country, thirty four which are endemic,” he said.

“Even now, recent findings are adding new numbers to the counts of plants and animals in the Solomon Islands, and yet,most remain undiscovered too.”

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