28 November 2022, Apia, Samoa - Nine villages from Savai’i and Upolu in Samoa have reaped the benefits from capacity building in marine rehabilitation ecosystem activities and solutions.
These solutions and the experiences of the selected villages were highlighted and shared at a Knowledge Café Talanoa session, an initiative by SPREP coordinated and facilitated by the Information and Knowledge Management (IKM) team, the Pacific Climate Change Centre (PCCC) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE).
A key core function of the PCCC is Knowledge Brokerage, which aims to connect the producers and users of climate change information to make better climate-smart decisions in the future. This activity was the first of its kind intended to bridge the gap between producers and users of climate change information and to support the SPREP IKM strategic goal on knowledge sharing.
For the inaugural knowledge café, the spotlight was on the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building Project (PACRES).
Under the Marine component of the PACRES project, MNRE with the support of SPREP lead the implementation of the project to enhance marine ecosystems with five villages in Savai’i and four in Upolu. The participating villages from Savai’i were Sale’aula, Sato’alepai, Saipipi, Siutu, Vaito’omuli and from Upolu were Ulutogia, Uafato, Tafatafa-Matavai and Tuana’i. Rehabilitation activities included mangrove planting along the shorelines and setting up coral gardening to support coral restoration efforts at the community level.
The PACRES Project consultant, Dr. Aleni Fepuleai, presented on the methodologies used and highlighted the importance of engaging and consulting with the participating villages.
“The project ensured wide consultation and participation of the selected villages. Youth, men and women all participated in various aspects of the work, such as mangrove replanting and transplanting as well as construction of the coral nursery tables and moving them to the selected sites. He further notes this is important for enhancing the capacities of each village and ensuring the activities can be sustained in future,” Dr. Fepuleai said.
This café style of knowledge sharing is the first of many to follow where key stakeholders come together to discuss topics on the environment. The first event provided an excellent platform for informal dialogues between project partners and the selected village representatives on the above topic. The community members that participated shared their experiences and lessons learned through engagement in the coastal rehabilitation activities.
It is imperative to hear firsthand information directly from community members on how the work of SPREP and partners are assisting them in their quest to conserve and protect the environment.
Mr Ulu Faaiuga of Ulutogia shared that prior to the project his village did not plant mangroves as they are often seen as not pleasing to the eye and obscures the view of the ocean, he says “the project has provided our village with some understanding on why mangroves are important for the shoreline in response to rising sea level and storm surges”.
The sui tama’ita’i (womens representative) from Vaito’omuli, Ms Gafua Seumanufagai expressed her appreciation for the project, saying: “Our village has benefitted from the project activities as it has enhanced our knowledge of coastal rehabilitation and the importance of having mangroves”.
She added that Vaito’omuli supports the long-term sustainability of project activities and they have requested the assistance of MNRE in providing more mangrove seedlings for planting.
MNRE Assistant CEO for the Division of Environment and Conservation, Mr Seumalo Afele Faiilagi echoed the enthusiasm of village representatives.
“The project provided an opportunity for the community to better understand the impact of climate change on the marine ecosystems, and how they can contribute to build resilience through nature based solutions in which this case focusing on coral restoration and mangrove replanting activities,” he said.
The villages will continue to provide long term monitoring and care of the coral nurseries and mangrove areas with guidance and technical support from SPREP and MNRE. This will ensure long term sustainability of the project activities to safeguard these coastal communities from environmental stressors such as climate change, ocean acidification, sea level rise and such.
For more information on the PACRES project, please visit this link - https://www.pacificclimatechange.net/project/gcca-plus-ccpacp To contact the organisers, please email [email protected] or [email protected] or [email protected]
The €12.18 million PACRES is funded primarily by the European Union with targeted support from the Swiss Confederation and the Principality of Monaco (EUR 90k) and is delivered jointly by SPREP, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), the Pacific Community (SPC) and the University of the South Pacific (USP).