East Are’are communities ready to work with MECDM through EREPA project
The Ministry of Environment Climate Disaster Management and Meteorology’s (MECDM) mandate to implement its plans and policies that address environmental conservation and restoration in the country has reached East Are’are, in the Southern region of Malaita Province.
Over the weekend a team consisting of staff from the Environment and Conservation Division (ECD) and the ‘Ensuring Resilient Ecosystems and Representative Protected Areas in Solomon Islands’ (EREPA) project held a successful discussion with communities from Manawai to Masupa to introduce the concept and related activities of EREPA project.
The EREPA project has an objective centred on the ‘Effective ecosystem management for healthy, complementary networks of protected, productive and restored landscapes in Guadalcanal, Malaita, Rennell-Bellona and Temotu.’
The project is implemented by International Union for Conservation of Nature and executed by Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme through MECDM. The project is funded by the Global Environment Facility under its 6th cycle funding allocation to Solomon Islands.
Speaking to the elders who attended the discussion, Deputy Director Environment and Conservation Mr Josef Hutrutarau thanked representatives of the various conservation groups for taking interest and making time available to attend the discussions. He added that for communities to be successful in their conservation efforts it is important that they must fully understand what is required by law so that their activities are in line with national legislations and policies.
He stressed that accessing funds through various donors is not easy so it is important the people must appreciate and develop a good working relationship with such projects.
Responding to remarks made by Mr Hurutarau, Secretary to the Namoaraha House of Chief Mr John Pae said discussions between them and Ministry officials has enlightened their mind in a lot of issues as far as conservation concerned. He stated that as a member of the house of chiefs, this is the first discussion coming from the government the is aligned with the three pillars of how they work on their tribal lands.
“In our effort to have a better life, the three things we as chiefs want our people to do is to Preserve, Promote and Protect our tribal lands. By doing so we will be able to have the same resources enjoyed by those who came before us, those of us here today and those who will come after us,” Mr Pae said.
He thanked the MECDM for choosing the Are’are and Kwaio regions as the project sites for EREPA in Malaita Province for the next 4 years.