Mr. David Sheppard, Director General of SPREP and Ms Salanieta Vunimoli of Live and Learn Environmental Education.
By Wati Talebula, journalism student from FNU
4 December 2013, Suva Fiji - A forest conservation project in Drawa, Vanua Levu in Fiji was given a public commendation for its success in preventing loggers from cutting down forests, during an award ceremony for Pacific environmentalists this week.
Live and Learn Environmental Education received a commendation for Excellence in Ecosystem Management for its work in the communities in Bua Province.
After Live and Learn's awareness projects, a logging concession to a major Fijian company was cancelled.
From an initial focus on sustainable logging, there has been a more recent shift in emphasis to forest conservation and management in the Drawa block. The project promotes sustainable, adaptive forest management.
Ms Salanieta Vunimoli, receiving the award on behalf of the organisation, said she was happy to get the because the environment provided hope for the younger generation.
“Let us ensure that our fruitful land and bountiful seas be our beacon of hope to our young people.”
They were recognised for the REDD+ Forest Conservation Project at Drawa, Bua in Vanua Levu as the Best Practise Case study in Pacific Sustainable Management.
The Live and Learn project came out on top of 14 other entries from around the Pacific.
Mr. Jerker Tamalander, UNEP Pacific Islands Ecosystem Management Case Studies project coordinator said there were more entries then he expected for the award.
“There were 15 participants and I wasn’t expecting that much but it was interesting to know that some people still care about our ecosystem,” he said.
The award was presented by Mr. David Sheppard, the Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) during the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation in Suva.
"Community ownership is one of the keys to successful ecosystem management," said Mr. Sheppard.
"While we have one award to present, there are conservation efforts from many that can be celebrated. These are captured in the report - Pacific Island Ecosystem Management Principles, case studies and lessons learned that we have launched here today."
Wati Talebula 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).