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Country Achievements - Tonga

Vava'u Rapid Biodiversity Assessment (BIORAP) completed
The Vava'u BIORAP was undertaken in selected terrestrial and marine areas across 14 islands of the Vava’u island group during February 2014 and was officially launched on 15 September 2015. Eight species of native vascular plants endemic to Tonga were recorded and 12 new species of native vascular plants were recorded to have been found during the survey. Furthermore, the survey found that the Vava’u reefs had a good diversity of hard corals and a high number of bird species was recorded including the Tongan Whistler (Pachycephala jacquinoti), which is endemic to Vava’u. Seven sites recommended for conservation and protection under the BIORAP were approved by the Tongan Government during the second half of 2015.

VAvau islands2 - S. Chape                                              Vava'u Islands, Kingdom of Tonga (Photo: S. Chape)

 Tonga BIORAP cover copy copy                                                                 The Vava'u BIORAP report  

Handing over of BIORAP report to hon. Governor of Vavau Lord Fulivai - BIORAP launch                                Handing over the the Vava'u BIORAP report to the hon.Governor
                                                       of Vava'u in November, Lord Fulivai.
                                                                 (Photo: V. Jungblut) 

Tongan Whistler - resized                         The Tongan Whistler (Pachycephala jacquinoti), endemic to the Vava'u islands
                                                                   (Photo: M.Bomford)

Fiji banded iguana copy
                          A single individual of the endangered Fiji banded iguana (Brachylophus fasciatus)
                                                         was recorded during the Vava'u BIORAP
                                                                       (Photo: T. Vickers)

Policy, Legislation and Plans
Protected Area gazettal underway
A formal process for the establishment of new conservation areas has been initiated for Tonga where seven priority sites recommended for protection by the Tonga BIORAP were submitted for official Government approval in late 2015: 

1.‘Otu Motu Lalo Islands (Maninita, Taula & Lualoli Islands) Reserve
2. Mt. Talau National Park
3. Fonualei Island Reserve
4. Talehele
5. Vai’utukakau

These priority sites have been approved as new conservation areas by the Tongan Government. As of early 2016, the process for official gazettal of the 7 new conservation areas is underway.
               Fonualei - resized                                            Fonualei Island Reserve (Photo: MEIDECC/MLNR, Government of Tonga)

Species Conservation
Tongan Megapode Survey completed
A megapode field survey lead by a top international ornithologist, assisted by staff from Tongan Government was conducted during the third quarter of 2013 on the islands of Late and Fonualei (Vava’u group). In-service training was provided in the benefit of 4 Tongan staff. It was determined that the globally threatened Polynesian Megapode (Megapodius pritchardii) is still surviving in good numbers in Fonualei while it is absent from Late. Data about invasive species were collected in parallel that enabled the expert to recommend the eradication of rats from Late. At the national level, the IIB project outcomes have contributed substantively to the review and update of the Tongan National Biodiversity Strategy & Action Plan (NBSAP). Workshops and consultations were successfully carried out in 2013 involving a range of stakeholders of the Vava’u group (Tonga) with the aim of raising their awareness and engaging them in a conservation planning process. This long-term consultative process is intended to lead to the formulation of the concept for a large terrestrial-marine conservation area (ridge-to-reef approach) with the full support of the Tongan Government and civil society.

megapode 1 photo by A. Goth - resized
The Polynesian Megapode (Photo: A. Goth)

Capacity Building
Training on Participatory three-Dimensional Modeling completed for Vava'u Stakeholders
A Participatory 3-Dimensional Model (P3DM) of the Vava’u Island Group of Tonga was completed in November 2015 showing important conservation sites and habitats for key species. The P3D model was produced as an activity of Tonga’s GEFPAS Integrated Island Biodiversity project in collaboration with SPREP, Samoa’s Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment (MNRE), the Government of Tonga’s Ministry of Environment (MEIDECC), the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), all the key agencies, organizations and communities in Vavau.The 3D model is multi-use and can be used for a variety of planning purposes such as the identification of further conservation areas and planning for climate change impacts, adaptation and disaster risk reduction. The stakeholders who participated were delighted with the hands-on experience and appreciated having been given the chance to work together on and contribute to the construction of the Vava’u P3D model.

Tonga P3DM participants at work - resized                               Tonga stakeholders, P3DM training for Vava'u islands
                                                               (Photo: V. Jungblut) 

Paulo Amerika re-sized
                             Hon. Governor of Vava'u and community members with their P3D model
                                                                  (Photo: P. Amerika)

Ecosystem Conservation
Marine ecosystem health monitoring completed for Vava'u islands
A marine ecosystem monitoring programme was recently completed for the Vava'u island group. This was a follow up monitoring programme to assess the biodiversity of marine species and health of ecosystems in selected marine sites originally surveyed during the 2014 Vava'u BIORAP. Overall, the BIORAP recommended that management programs need to be introduced to ensure and improve upon the current status of marine resources in Vava'u and the results of the monitoring programme indicate that there is a need for marine management activities including assessing the need for larger scale protected areas and species protection.

Vavau coral cover - D Fenner
                                               High coral cover and diversity of Vava'u reefs
                                                                  (Photo: D. Fenner)

Country Achievements - Nauru

Nauru Rapid Biodiversity Assessment (BIORAP) completed

The Nauru BIORAP was undertaken in June 2013. The key findings and recommendations of the BIORAP were presented along with the BIORAP documentary to key government representatives from across a range of agencies during April 2015. New records of moths, land snails and ants were reported including a second insect species endemic to Nauru (a moth). A new species of skink considered endemic to Nauru was recorded. A total of 36 bird species were recorded including two new seabirds found for the first time in Nauru. The survey found that Nauru’s reefs were exceptionally healthy and contain globally significant species threatened with extinction including the humphead wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus). For the first time, Nauru now has comprehensive baseline information on the status of their biodiversity which has contributed immensely to the completion of their fifth national report to the CBD, contributed to the review and update of their National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP), the setting of national biodiversity targets for their NBSAP and has raised awareness of the importance Nauru’s biodiversity. The results of the BIORAP have also contributed substantively to the formulation of the GEF STAR Ridge-to-Reef (R2R) project for Nauru.

BIORAP cover Nauru full                                                                     The Nauru BIORAP report

Nauru Emoia spp.
A new species of skink, Emoia spp., considered endemic to Nauru was
recorded during the BIORAP (Photo: R. Stirnemann)

Saipan Reed Warbler Acrocephalus hiwae on Saipan
                        The BIORAP found that the endemic, gloablly threatened Nauru reed warbler
                                           (Acrocephalus rehsei) was abundant in numbers
                                                                 (Photo: G. Greta)

Policy, Legislation and Plans
Wetlands management plan developed
A management plan was drafted for one of the proposed conservation areas (PCAs) idenitifed through the Nauru BIORAP site. The Ijuw-Anabar wetland PCA management plan was developed in October 2015 in close consultation with local communities and relevant government agencies of Nauru. This PCA contains the most valuable brackish open water habitats for birdlife, significant areas of mangrove, it supports the richest vegetation mix of the coastal plain and has high scenic values.

Ijuw-Anabar wetlands PCA copy                                       The Ijuw-Anabar Wetlands Proposed Conservation Area 
                                                                 (Photo: A. Whistler)

National Wetland Directory for Nauru completed

The draft national wetland inventory for Nauru has been completed under the GEFPAS IIB project and provides a valuable description of values and ecosystem services provided by Nauru wetlands. The Directory provides a description of the biophysical, ecological and cultural characteristics of  five national wetlands, four of which were surveyed through the 2013 Nauru BIORAP and recommended for conservation action. The Directory will also assist with the idenitifcation of globally significant wetland types suitable for future listing under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, once Nauru becomes a member of Ramsar. 

Buada lagoon - resized copy                                              Buada Lagoon, one of the Nauru's wetlands described
                                              in the National Wetland Directory.
(Photo: V. Jungblut)

Capacity Building
Training on Marine Spatial Planning successfully completed for Nauru stakeholders
Nauru has taken the first step towards Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), a process that brings multiple users of the ocean together to make informed and coordinated decisions about how best to use marine resources sustainably. A training workshop on Marine Spatial Planning was completed during the second week of February 2016, it followed on from a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) training which introduced the concept of MSP and its benefits as a training tool. The training also promoted cross-learning and a platform for exchange with other Pacific island countries which saw environment officers from the Cook Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu participate and share their own country experiences. This training is a key activity of the Nauru GEFPAS Integrated Island Biodiversity (IIB) Project and was a collaborative partnership between the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the Nauru Fisheries and Marine Resources Authority (NFMRA), the Department of Commerce, Industry and Environment, Government of Nauru and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) of Australia.

Nauru MSP training participants at work - resized
                                   Group Work, Nauru Marine Spatial Planning training workshop 
                                                                    (Photo: R. Wright)

Training on Participatory Three-Dimensional Modeling (P3DM) successfully completed for Nauru
A participatory three-dimensional model of Nauru was unveiled on Saturday 16 April 2016 in an official ceremony by his Excellency the President of the Republic of Nauru and Minister for Commerce, Industry and Environment, Hon. Baron Waqa MP. The three-dimensional model will help Nauru identify, establish and manage their natural resources including conservation sites. It was constructed during training on Participatory Three-Dimensional Modelling also known as P3DM which was successfully completed this month for the Republic of Nauru. "This model will be very important for our work in mapping out community hotspots for establishing Marine Protected Areas and no take zones. It was a lot of fun contributing to the construction of the model," said Mr. Ebelina Tsiode, Coastal Fisheries Officer with the Nauru Fisheries and Marine Resources Authority. Click here to read the media release

20160416 122613 copy
                       Nauru community stakeholders working on their P3D model (Photo: V.Jungblut)

nauru model - president shot
                                 Hon. President of Nauru inspecting their completed P3D model
                                                                (Photo: V. Jungblut)

Community members and schools pose with the P3D model copy copy copy copy                     Community members and school students pose with the completed P3D model
                                                                   (Photo: V. Jungblut)

Country Achievements - Cook Islands

Cook Islands IIB logo
                                                 Cook Islands IIB project logo
                                                 (Image: Cook islands NES)

Rarotonga cloud forest habitat survey completed

A survey cloud forests habitats of Rarotonga was completed in May 2015. Montane habitats of the interior of Rarotonga are critical to the health and well being of the islands' people, and its indigenous biota. the steep mountain slopes, isloated and at least partly protected by their extreme terrain, support one of the best remaining examples of maontane rainforest in the tropical Pacific and are critical habitat for many of the island's endemic species. The main output of the cloud forest survey is a catchment management and restoration plan for the cloud forest ecosystems of Rarotonga which aims to protect and enhance the cloud forests of Rarotonga so that their indigenous ecosystems, habitats for endemic species and water supply functions are preserved in perpetuity.

CKI Cloud forest report and poster - resized
                             Cloud forest management and restoration plan and synhesis report,
                                      the main outputs of the Rarotonga cloud forest survey. 
                                                        (Images: Cook Islands NES)

Education and Awareness
Train the Teachers biodiversity education programme completed
Eighteen teachers from primary and secondary schools in the Cook Islands were trained in teaching biodiversity conservation and nature, using the "Train the Teachers’ biodiversity education programme", run by Live & Learn (Fiji). Positive feedback was received from teachers who reported that they were now using the activities from the workshops and practising them with students. Most importantly, biodiversity was now integrated into the primary school curriculum in the Cook Islands.

Cooks TOT image                      Cook Island teachers hard at work learning how to teach biodiversity conservation
                                                          (Photos: Cook Islands NES)

'Our Biodiversity, our islands, our future' campaign

The Cook Islands National Environment Service (NES) in collaboration with the Integrated Island Biodiversity (IIB) Project and the Invasive Alien Species (IAS) Project launched the theme for their 2014 awareness campaign – 'E Tango Maori te Ao Ora Natura: Our Islands, Our Biodiversity, Our Future'.  The theme was developed to recognise the link biodiversity on each of the islands has to our past and present and its importance to our future. The aim is to promote different aspects of Cook Islands biodiversity to our people, including by highlighting threats such as invasive species and promoting unique features of our species and ecosystems. 

CKI BD posters                     Biodiversity awareness posters produced by the Cook Islands GEFPAS IIB Project.
                                                             (Images: Cook Islands NES) 

species awareness posters - CKI                        Species awareness posters produced by the Cook Islands GEFPAS IIB Project  
                                                       (Images: Cook Islands NES)

Policy, Legislation and Plans

Biodiversity Regulations drafted 
A set of Biodiversity Conservation Environment Regulations have been drafted for the Cook Islands. The draft regulations 
would need to be consulted on further as they affect all communities and interest groups. The regulations are undergoing a review process and are expected to be finalised very soon.

Suwarrow Management Plan and Regulations completed
A management plan and environment regulations have also been drafted for the island of Suwarrow. The drafts are undergoing review and are expected to bre finalised very soon. Apart from the abudance of marine life it supports, Suwarrow is also noted as one of the more important bird islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Suwarrow birdlife                          Some of the birdlife found on Suwarrow Atoll (Photos: Cook Islands NES)

Mid term review of the Cook Islands National Environment Strategic Action Framework (NESAF) carried out 
The mid-term review of the Cook Islands National Environment Strategic Action Framework (NESAF) was initiated under the Cook Islands IIB project. The framework is designed to recognise the significance of sustainable development as Cook Islanders begin to come to terms with issues such as biodiversity changes, changing weather patterns, unchecked tourism development, increasing waste and contaminated lagoons as well as struggling infrastructure and utility services.

CKI NESAF review                         Cook Islands stakeholders taking part in the mid-term review of the NESAF. 
                                                          (Photos: Cook Islands NES)

Species Conservation
Vairakau Maori (traditional medicine) initiative successfully completed 
The protection and sustainable use of the important native and naturalised plants and animals of the Cook Islands, specifically those that are hard to find or rare and are used for vairakau (traditional medicine) making, is a very important issue. This importance is clearly reflected in the past and present activities of the Cook Islands National Environment Service (NES) and that of the Cook Islands Natural Heritage Project (CINHP), and, in view of the changes to the environment as a result of climate change, and the strive to create opportunities for outer island populations to remain on their islands, it has become, even a more desired activity to be developed and implemented. Hence, a programme has been implemented (Vairakau Maori) in close consultation with local practitioners to identify, record, protect and conserve the rare plants of the Cook Islands that have traditional medicinal value, these include the Polynesian Sandalwood (Santalum insulare) below.

Polynesian sandalwood                            Polynesian Sandalwood of Mitiaro, classified as critically endangered
                                                             and nationally endangered.
                                                                   (Photo: CINHP).

CKI med plant copy                                              The Poro'iti or Garland Berry (Solanum viride)
                                                   is classified as seriously endangered
                                                                  (Photo: T. Rongo)

Coconut crab ('Unga) assessment successfully completed
The coconut crab (Birgus latro) known locally as 'Unga' is a highly valued resource on the Island of Mauke which, without proper management has been subject to overharvesting by the local residents. In an effort to combat this problem and rebuild the crab population, some of the landowners in Mauke set aside their land in 2012 for the conservation of the 'Unga for a period of 10 years. An assessment of the coconut crab has never been carried out in the Cook Islands and the idea of surveying the coconut crab was regarded as a timely undertaking. Three years after creating a conservation site for coconut crabs on Mauke, the first survey of the 'Unga was carried out in October 2015, this survey was heralded a historic activity for the 'Unga on Mauke. Click here to read the media release.

CKI Unga -Measuring the TL thoracic length                          Measurements taken of a coconut crab ('Unga) during the Mauke survey
                                                        (Photo: Cook Islands NES)

Capacity Building
Training on Participatory Three-Dimensional Modeling (P3DM) successfully completed for the Cook Islands
Vaka Puaikura on Rarotonga now have their very first three dimensional model to help the district use integrated planning while maintaining sustainable use of their resources.The training on participatory three dimensional modelling (P3DM) for local communities in the Cook Islands drew upon the expertise from fellow Pacific island countries – Samoa and Tonga, who have also completed the participatory 3D model training with local communities. The training brought together community members, school children and government officers from relevant ministries to construct a P3DM of their district based on their own local knowledge integrated with modern knowledge. The young children from Arorangi Primary School enjoyed learning new skills from the trainers and from the elders of Vaka Puaikura. The children participated actively and completed their tasks with great enthusiasm."I would like to thank the Cook Islands National Environment Service and also the experts from Samoa and Tonga for sharing the experience from their countries and helping our district with this training," said Mrs. Tokerau Tinomana Ariki, paramount chief of Vaka Puaikura. Click here to read the media release.

      painting the P3D model - CKI resized
                  Community and Government participants of the training working on their P3D model
                                                              (Photo: SPREP)

Cook Islands participants with their completed P3D model1                                         Cook Island participants with their completed P3D model
                                                              (Photo: Cook Islands NES)

Country Achievements - Tuvalu
Demarcation of Conservation Areas initiated
The mapping out of  conservation areas and Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs) in Tuvalu began back in 2014 through a partnership bertween the Department of Environment and the Tuvalu Lands Department. However, due to unforseen circumsntances only four of the eight outer islands were successfully mapped out (Vaitupu, Nukufetau, Nui and Nukulaelae). The completion of mapping of the remaining four outer islands is planned to be completed under the IIB project during the first half of 2016. 

Tuvalu CA demarcation - completed islands
Four of the eight outer islands (Nui, Vaitupu,Nukulaelae, Nukufetau)  where Conservation Areas and LMMAs
                                                                have been demarcated
                                                 (Photos: Tuvalu Environment Department)

Education and Awareness
Train the Teachers biodiversity education programme completed
Teachers from primary and secondary schools on Funafuti atoll, Tuvalu were trained in teaching biodiversity conservation and nature, using the "Train the Teachers’ biodiversity education programme", run by Live & Learn Environmental Education (Fiji). Positive feedback was received from teachers who took part in the training which ran from 28 June - 1 July 2016. More importantly, the process for integrating biodiversity into the primary and secondary school curriculum in Tuvalu is now underway.

Tuvalu BD TOT images - for IIB webpage copy
            Tuvalu primary and secondary school teachers learning how to teach biodiversity conservation
                                          (Photos: Live and Learn Environmental Education Ltd.)

Regional Achievements

Capacity Building
Training on Open Standards successfully completed for national IIB project personnel
A training on Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation was conducted from the 18-23 March 2016 in Auckland New Zealand engaging both IIB project personnel and officers involved in biodiversity conservation and related activities from the Cook Islands, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu ."The central idea is for participants to take what they learn during this training and apply it to the remaining activities under their Integrated Island Biodiversity projects, also for them to apply the skills acquired to upcoming and future biodiversity conservation projects that they will be working on in their respective countries," said Ms. Easter Galuvao, of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).For more information on this training, click here to read the media release.

20160321 143712
                              Participants of the Open Standards training hard at work (Photo: V. Jungblut)

Technical Cooperation

IIB coordinators take part in the region's premier gathering of conservation practitioners & partners
The IIB coordinators from Tonga and Nauru participated in the the Ninth Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas held in Suva, Fiji  from 2-6 December 2013 and this was a timely opportunity to showcase work undertaken under the IIB project at the time. Mr Asterio Appi, Nauru IIB coordinator, presented a short film outlining their rapid biodiversity assessment (BioRAP) conducted in June 2013 and discussed the value of such initiatives in better guiding establishment of protected areas and initiatives in conservation. During his presentation, he acknowledged the strong partnerships between a number of organisations that enabled the BioRAP to be conducted. Ms. Ana Fekau, Tonga IIB coordinator, presented on the megapode surveys that were completed under the IIB project during a meeting of the PIRT Species Working Group (SWG) at the ninth conference.The issue of translocations was highlighted from her presentation, in regard to the Tongan Megapode, but with relevance to any species. A species may be moved from one place to another in order to try and protect its survival, but the effects of this movement need to be assessed to ensure it does not become invasive, for example. Another key point following from her presentation was that reference to translocation work and following correct guidelines be included in the Action Strategy. Furthermore, her presentation provided some ideas of the types of activities that the SWG could be involved in in the future.  

IIB project coordinators participate in the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014
The IIB project coordinators got the opportunity to participate in various sessions of the IUCN World Parks Congress held in Sydney, 12-19 November 2014. the coordinators were able to take part in the pre-congress capacity building workshop on protected areas, the welcoming ceremony for the MUA voyage, SPREP side event and activities of the Pacific pavilion at the congress. Furthermore, Cook Islands coordinator (Ms. Mii Matamaki) presented on traditional medicine of the Cook Islands; the Tongan coordinator (Ms. Ana fekau) presented on the statis of the Tongan megapode and the Tuvalu coordinator (Mr. Melton Tauetia) delivered a presentation on the Funafuti conservation area during specific streams/sessions of the congress.

IIB team - WPC sydney 2014                                    IIB project coordinators, SPREP and UNEP officials in Sydney,
                                                 during the World Parks Congress in 2014  
                                                                (Photo: SPREP)

IIB project enables sharing of technical expertise in conducting timely Rarotonga survey

A survey of the cloud forests habitats of Rarotonga was completed in May 2015.This survey provided an opportunity for the Samoa Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) to share their experience and expertise in conducting upland rapid biodiversity assessments (BioRAP) as well as offering a valuable capacity building opportunity for Mr Talie Foliga of the MNRE, whereby knowledge gained would be transferred to other local MNRE staff in Samoa.  The reason for inviting Talie Foliga specifically is because of his instrumental role in the completion of the BioRAP for the upland areas of the island of Savaii in Samoa and his expert knowledge in this field. Cross country capacity building between the Samoa expert and Cook Island environment officers proved invaluable.  A lesson is that such collaborative initiatives for the cross-sharing of knowledge and capacity can play a role in supporting long-term passion and also provides a network of counterparts who can assist each other. The overall value of such initiatives goes well beyond the initial objectives of the activity.  

talie CKI cloud forest survey copy copy Talie Foliga of the Samoa MNRE participating in the Cook Islands Cloud Forest Survey (left, in white jacket)
                                               and standing with the survey team (far right)
                                                                      (Photos: SPREP)

IIB project coordinators benefit from capacity building exchanges

The national IIB coordinators from the Cook Islands and Tuvalu participated in trainings on Geopgraphic Information Systems (GIS) and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) held in Nauru from the 8-12 February 2016. Their participation in the training was part of an effort to faciliate the sharing and exchange of knowledge, skills and experiences between IIB project countries.  "I found the training very useful in that I learnt new techniques on mapping" said Ms. Moe Saitala, IIB project coordinator for Tuvalu of the GIS training.  "The training has been useful in providing me with an understanding and appreciation of proper planning for marine areas and why we should be managing them. The training will help me greatly with my work with communities back home," said Ms Mii Matamaki, GEFPAS IIB coordinator for the Cook Islands of the MSP training. 

Mii and Moe in Nauru              Cook Islands IIB coordinator, Mii Matamaki (in red, sitting), Tuvalu IIB coordinator, Moe Saitala
          (in blue, standing to the left) and participant from Tonga, Taaniela Kula (in blue, standing to the right)   
                                                 contributing to discussions during the training.
                                                                   (Photo: V. Jungblut)

Click here
 to read the media release of the GIS training
Click here to read the media release for the MSP training

Tonga IIB coordinator shares skills and experience on P3DM with Nauru and Cook Islands
The IIB national project coordinator for Tonga (Ms. Ana Fekau) was instrumental in developing the Participatory three dimensional model for the vava'u island group in Tonga during November 2015. Through the IIB project, Ms. Fekau was able to share her experience and expertise on ParticipatoryThree Dimensional Modelling during the Nauru GEFPAS IIB training on P3DM, 12-16 April 2016 and the Cook Islands GEFPAS IIB training on P3DM, 13-17 June 2016. " Working together with communities and key stakeholders is not just important it is essential to the success of the P3DM process" said Ana of her experience.

Ana P3DM expertise               Ana Fekau participating and lending her expertise in the Cook Islands training (left, in green shirt)
                                        and in the Nauru training (right, in blue shirt) working with students.
                                                                  (Photos: V. Jungblut) 

The IIB project engages Samoan expertise to assist activities across the IIB countries
The Samoan Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) has built up a significant pool of expertise among its staff in the area of nature conservation over the years.  Although Samoa is not part of the IIB project, SPREP was able to mobilise this expertise through a collaborative partnership arrangement with the MNRE to facilitate the sharing of their experiences, skills and knowledge with the IIB project countries in relation to specific project activities. Mr. Fialelei Enoka of the MNRE participated in and assisted with the rapid biodiversity assessment (BioRAP) for the Republic of Nauru, which was successfully completed in June 2013. Mr. Talie Foliga of the MNRE participated in and contributed to the successful completion of the Rarotonga Cloud Forest Survey in October 2015, the first such survey for Rarotonga. Mr. Paulo Amerika, Ms. Yvette Kerslake and Mr. Luaiufi Aiono (also of the MNRE) delivered training and practical guidance on the process of Participatory Three Dimensional Modelling (P3DM) for the Vava'u islands in Tonga from 16-20 November 2015. Mr. Amerika, joined by another of his team of P3DM experts, Mr. Fata Eti Malolo delivered P3DM training and guidance for Nauru from 12-16 April 2016 and again for the Cook Islands from 13-17 June 2016. This cross-country sharing is part of SPREPs ongoing efforts to promote south-south learning and the utilisation of endogenous expertise within our region.

fialelei-talie                   Fialelei Enoka during the Nauru BioRAP (left, sitting, blue t-shirt), Talie Foliga taking  
                                                    part in the Rarotonga cloud forest survey.
                                                                    (Photos: SPREP)

Samoa P3DM team   The Samoa P3DM experts at work (left, blue t-shirt): Fata Eti Malolo during the Cook Islands training,  
                                    Luaiufi Aiono during the Tonga training (centre, green floral)
                                   and Paulo Amerika during the Nauru training (right, dark grey shirt)
                                                             (Photos: V. Jungblut)
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