Ensuring Resilient Ecosystems and Protected Areas in the Solomon Islands was the theme of a data workshop, co-facilitated by the Environmental and Monitoring and Governance(EMG) Programme of Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Solomon Island’s Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and Disaster Management and Meteorology’s (MECDM) Environment and Conservation Division on 17 March 2023.
The workshop was a part of the International Union Conservation for Nature (IUCN) project on Ensuring Resilience Ecosystems and Representative Protected Areas in the Solomon Islands (EREPA) project. Under the EREPA project, areas in the Guadalcanal, Malaita, Renolla-Bellona and Temotu provinces have been proposed as protected areas for the Solomon Islands. As part of the data workshop, participants conducted a field visit to the Barana Nature and Heritage Park, located in Guadalcanal province, a key site for the EREPA project.
In 2019, SPREP provided assistance to the Barana Community, through the Pacific Ecosystem and Adaptation to Climate Change (PEBACC) project to develop the Barana Nature and Heritage Park. The park spans 5,000 hectares of forest area in the upper catchment of the Mataniko river, one of the largest river catchments in Honiara.
The development of the park included reforestation activities, replanting of stream and watershed areas to reduce soil erosion, sustainable land use activities and mapping, development of eco-tourism and nature-based income generation activities. The park also includes an Environment and Resource Centre which will serve as a place for knowledge sharing, awareness raising and education on good environment practices to build environmental resilience.
SPREP’s Director for the EMG programme highlighted the importance of the Barana Nature and Heritage Park initiatives for national climate resilience efforts. He says, “the Barana community have developed a model for the use of ecosystem-based measures to address climate change impacts and biodiversity loss. Their efforts in managing and protecting their natural resources are to be commended and achieve a project goal to ensure resilient ecosystems and protected areas”.
During the field visit, workshop participants conducted a tree planting activity and observing local community farming initiatives. The field visit activities reaffirm the commitment by stakeholders and SPREP to continue collaboration with national counterparts to ensure resilient ecosystems for the Solomon Islands. Participants planted native tree seedlings contributing to mutual objectives for the EREPA project and the Barana Nature and Heritage Park of rehabilitation of vulnerable ecosystems to safeguard their role in resilience to climate change and prevention of biodiversity decline.
The tree planting activity is also a special moment for SPREP staff as they used the opportunity to commemorate 30 years since the signing of the SPREP Treaty, which tasked the organisation to provide assistance to the Pacific to protect and improve the environment to ensure sustainable development for present and future generations.
For more information on the EREPA Project, please contact Ms. Amanda Wheatley at [email protected]
For more information on the Inform Project, please contact Ms. Vani Koroisamanunu at [email protected], for the BIOPAMA project, Ms. Kasaqa Tora at [email protected], and for the ACP/MEA 3 project please contact Ms. Anastacia Amoa-Stowers at [email protected].