Environmental Monitoring and Governance

By Evan Wasuka, One Television, Solomon Islands

5 July 2012, Solomon Islands - Cultural knowledge can help Pacific nations find solutions to dealing with the impacts of climate change and environmental problems, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo, told delegates at the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts in Honiara.MG 92962

Twenty countries and over 2000 participants are taking part in the largest festival in the South Pacific.

Participating countries include some of the world's smallest and most climate vulnerable countries, that have been affected by rising sea levels, increased extreme weather conditions and changes to weather patterns.

"Twenty years after the UN Earth Summit in Rio at 1992. Scientists have sufficient evidence to inform us that the earth has reached its planetary limits or abilities to contain global warming and climate changes."

Lilo said while the world continues to look for solution to climate change, Pacific Island countries for generations have learnt to live in harmony with their environment.

"It is essential for us to explore with haste and progress appropriate actions and identify key strategic areas to save and protect our ocean and land for our generation and future generations. Some of the solutions for these challenges are in the knowledge of our cultures.

The theme for the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts is 'Culture in Harmony with Nature'.

Pacific Island countries will over two weeks showcase their culture and tradition including practices that promote environment sustainability.

"I believe the challenge for many is acquiring the knowledge of our cultures to counter the global warming and climate change issues.

"For us who live in low lying islands, our focus should be towards the management of our eco-systems. It is important that we remain strong, resilient and continue to practice our cultures to ensure sustainability of their originality as we journeyed through these waters of globalization."

Lilo pointed out that although the Pacific region only accounts for a small fraction of the global population, it contains a quarter of the world's known languages.

"The region is characterized by enormous ecological and cultural diversity; a human history so rich in rituals, travel, narrative and innovation.

The One Television, Solomon Islands Reporter was part of the SPREP Media team that covered the just concluded Rio+20 conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The project was supported by a partnership between the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and the Pacific Assistance Media Scheme and Conservation International Pacific Island Program.