The newly established project by the Solomon Islands Government through the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM) entitled “Ensuring Resilient Ecosystems and Representative Protected Areas (EREPA)” in Solomon Islands has successfully completed a two days’ inception workshop for the Guadalcanal Provincial staff and Tandai house of chiefs on Tuesday 27th and Wednesday 28th September 2022.
The purpose of the workshop is primarily to introduce EREPA project and present its objectives, goals and components and outputs firstly to the Provincial Government stakeholders and then on to the Tandai House of Chiefs.
The workshop has provided the opportunity for the Provincial Government, Chiefs and community stakeholders to understand MECDM’s policy, plans and strategy and the partnership it has with GEF funded programmes. It also helped inform stakeholders on the background of the project, and its benefits to ensure communities involve must take ownership of the activities of the project.
Since the work of the project is geared towards assisting communities who have an interest in doing conservation of their land and sea, one of the key objectives of the workshop is to do awareness on the Protected Areas Act (PAA) and Agricultural activities. Others include identification of relevant stakeholders at both the provincial and community level, Collection of information on programs related to conservation and identify their capacity needs.
Speaking before the workshop proper Guadalcanal Province Premier Mr Francis Sade for most of his officers this is the first time they were given this rare opportunity to learn about such programs that are very important for the preservation of our environment.
He said environment is a cross cutting issue. “When you talk about environment, you are talking about virtually all aspects of our lives. I’m therefore very pleased that you have chosen Guadalcanal as one of the four provinces the project will be working in” Premier Sade said
The inception workshop gave the Provincial and Community stakeholders important knowledge about the policies of the MECDM, its plans and strategy. They were also able to gain an understanding of the rationale and benefits of the project that will help them see the importance of taking ownership of the projects activities within their respective areas.
The same inception workshop was conducted at Lela Beach for the Tandai House of Chiefs the following day. Speaking on behalf of all the 17 communities within Tandai ward, paramount chief Mr. Peter Sagelivera expressed his profound gratitude to the MECDM for taking this vital information to his people through the house of chiefs.
He said the people of Tandai ward should proud that they have been chosen amongst many. He urged all chiefs present at the workshop to think not for themselves but also for those to whom they were given the mandate to lead and for those of their future generations. He said the Tandai House of Chiefs stands ready to assist in seeing the successful implantation of any project within the ward.
Other important outcomes of the two days inception workshop are the understanding gained about the project goals, components, work plan and the governance, clear understanding of the Protected Areas Acts process and information on reforestation and agricultural initiatives at the provincial and community level.
For the team from MECDM the trip also helped them to obtained vital information from key relevant stakeholders about the status of their conservation related programs and identified capacity needs that needs to be addressed
The MECDM is implementing the project on Guadalcanal, Malaita, Temotu and Rennell and Bellona Provinces with support from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and the Ministry of Forest and Research as key implementing partners.