The Minister for Environment Climate Change Disaster Management and Meteorology Honourable Stanley Festus Sofu, fully endorses the Ministry’s role as a key implementer in the “Solomon Islands Community Based Coastal and Marine Resources Management Strategy 2021-2025 and the “National Information Strategy to empower all Communities to better manage their marine resources” Minister Sofu made the assurance when speaking at the launch of these two documents at the Kitano Mendana Hotel in the presence of around 100 participants from national and provincial governments, CBRM practitioners, CSO’s and NGO partners yesterday 23rd November 2022.
Minister Sofu said Solomon Islands as a country is blessed with many natural resources like our forests, rivers and streams while coral reefs and ocean continue to support our communities through food and livelihoods, and as important drivers of the country’s economy. He said estimated revenue through subsistence fishing and artisanal fisheries was worth more than $ SBD500 million per annum, which drives home the importance of the national documents that were launched today.
However, the Minister added that these resources are not without challenges. Humans drive these challenges by the choices and actions they take, as well as through global and economic changes. He says problems such as overharvesting and overfishing, unsustainable development practices, plastic pollution and climate change also pose serious threats to the marine environment and ecosystems. These threats are already affecting our communities. Whether at the household, village or communities or at the Provincial or national scale, unhealthy marine and coastal environments will negatively affect people’s lives.
Therefore, he is happy to note that the Government through his Ministry’s partnership with the Ministry of Fisheries and other stakeholders to develop the two planning documents is testament of the Ministry’s commitment to addressing the challenges in the natural resources sector.
“I am informed that the national journey of Community-based resource management (or CBRM) is not new. Our two Ministries have partnered with Provinces, NGOs, Community groups and Development Partners for more than 10 years in implementing numerous CBRM strategies and interventions. CBRM is promoted as the main ingredient for engaging with communities in the sustainable use of coastal and marine ecosystems” Minister Sofu said.
In that connection the Minister thanked all the Development Partners, NGOs and Community based groups and individuals who have contributed to provide technical and financial support towards the national CBRM programs. To the communities and people for their support, engagement and environmental stewardship he said;
“Thank you for the trust and willingness to participate in CBRM programs and projects. With over 80% of our coastal areas under customary ownership and rights, it is critically important that we share the same goals and have the same intentions in implementing these policies. Your sense of place, your leadership and your direction will guide national interventions”
He concluded by inviting everyone to support the implementation of the two planning documents.