Catch of the Week
Conservation is about Relationships

Conservation is about Relationships

Catch of the Week

National framework for marine conservation established in Solomon Islands.

“There ought to be a law.”

That’s what Solomon Islanders said when they started to get serious about modern marine conservation. They saw the need for a legal framework that defines and supports protected areas as well as a governmental structure to regulate them.

The national coastal and marine conservation structure will protect the livelihood of this artisanal fisherman in Saeraghi on Ghizo Island, where Solomon Islanders are creating a Marine Protected Area. (Photo: USAID CTSP / Tory Read)

The national coastal and marine conservation structure will protect the livelihood of this artisanal fisherman in Saeraghi on Ghizo Island, where Solomon Islanders are creating a Marine Protected Area. (Photo: USAID CTSP / Tory Read)

The 2010 Protected Areas Act, which gives legal protection to communities who register protected areas and commit to using various traditional and modern conservation measures, was already in the works when USAID’s Coral Triangle Support Partnership (CTSP) supplied essential support to the Ministry of the Environment to get the law passed. CTSP funded the legal work required to write the act and supported government officials who shepherded the legislation to approval.

Solomon Islanders formed a National Coordinating Committee (NCC), also supported by CTSP, to help achieve their national and regional commitment to the Coral Triangle Initiative for Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF), including development and passage of this Law and addressing other integrated coastal issues such as adaptation to climate change. NGO participants, government officials, and outside observers agree that the NCC has radically altered the way conservation issues are handled in Solomon Islands.

The NCC serves as a forum for intra-government dialogue by bringing the Ministries of Finance, Planning and Foreign Affairs (among others) into the mix and encourages better communication and collaboration among NGOs and government. Shannon Seeto, Marine Program Manager for Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), called the committee “a huge success in promoting communication between everyone involved in marine conservation.”

As Bianca Priest, an Australian volunteer working with the NCC, observed, “Conservation is really about relationships.” The new relationships formed through the NCC bode well for marine resources in the Solomon Islands.

The Solomon Islands government also created and committed to a National Plan of Action as part of their participation in the CTI-CFF. The Plan has supplied a framework for resource management planning and a set of goals to work towards.

With a law, a structure, and a plan for national coordination in place, communities, government and NGOs can now work together to establish protected marine conservation areas across the country and address other threats to their coastal ecosystems.

WWF, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International and WorldFish are implementing partners of CTSP and the USCTI Support Program in the Solomon Islands.

This feature is part of the document Outreach: Success Stories from the Solomon Islands produced under the US Coral Triangle Support Program. For more details, read Final Report: Lessons from the US Coral Triangle Support Program.

Avatar of Coral Triangle Written by Coral Triangle

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