Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Conservation efforts must benefit all

Dr. Stacy Jupiter attending the CBD COP10 in Nagoya, Japan

By Maryann Lockington, journalism student at the USP

5 December 2013, Suva, Fiji - Management efforts for conservation should benefit as many people as possible, says a representative of the Wildlife Conservation Society.
WCS program director Dr. Stacy Jupiter said it was important to consider village communities for sustainable development.

“One of the things we really need to think about is managing as holistically as possible, so thinking about how you can design management interventions that will offer the most benefits for the most people.”

Dr. Jupiter said areas like the Vatu-i-Ra passage in Fiji were really important for driving productivity, providing nutrients and habitats for the fish and marine life and should be managed well.

WCS worked with several communities including in the Bua, Lomaiviti and Ra provinces, especially with protected areas.

“Each area has their own complementary plans and we can think about not just the community interest but also how you overlay that with economic development in a sustainable way,” she said.

Dr. Jupiter said some challenges in communities included lack of information.

She said people were conscious that marine protected areas would shut out activities, not realising it was mainly about ensuring the activities in the area were sustainable.

“You don’t want to put logging directly upstream from fresh water sources that people use for drinking water because it compromises the ecosystem that people really need.”

Dr. Jupiter said the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas was a good opportunity to improve national and international policies on the environment.

“One of the most important things to recognise is that Fiji is still at an advantageous position compared to other places in the world because things are still in good shape,” she said.

She said that the conference was valuable because it brought the government and NGOs on board for a collaborative discussion on sustainable development.

“It’s good; this is really a place where you get to meet people from all across the Pacific who are responding to the same issues and its valuable for the exchange of ideas.”

Maryann Lockington is a member of the Media Team providing coverage of the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas from 2 to 6 December in Suva, Fiji.  This is a partnership between the Fiji National University (FNU), University of the South Pacific (USP), SPREP and Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) whereby a team of 10 journalism students are mentored by senior reporters as they cover the conference.  This activity is  funded by the Pacific Assistance Media Scheme (PACMAS).

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