Since the national inception on 2nd June 2022 of the ““Ensuring Resilient Ecosystems and Representative Protected Areas (EREPA) in Solomon Islands” work is already moving ahead to implement the project in the four provinces identified as project sites for EREPA. Last week a supervision mission team from International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) visited the country to get firsthand information on the progress made so far.
The team had its first meeting with key implementing partners from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Ministry of Forestry and Research, and Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM) and staff of the Project Management Unit based MECDM office in Honiara.
During the meeting, project partners were informed that the supervision mission team main objective is to see and review what progress has been made in the project implementation process since its inception in June 2022. The team will do the review in a component-by-component basis so that it is easy to see what achievements have been made and what issues and challenges the project is facing.
Speaking during the meeting Ms Sarah Tawaka from IUCN office in Suva Fiji said;
“I am sure you already know the standards and requirements of Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded project, so our main objective for coming over is to review the project implementation and also to review the achievements set against the annual work plan and budget.
If there are any issues, challenges or any barriers that are holding back the implementation process, it has to be presented on the table and a report will compiled and submit to the IUCN Head Quarters so that they know where we are in terms of project implementation.”
The second leg of the supervision mission visit is a 3-day tour of Malaita Province led by the National Project Coordinator Ms Cathy Unga where the team visited Wai-Hau Conservation Foundation site. At the site, the team gave a brief outline of the purpose of the visit followed by a short exercise on community resource mapping. This is a participatory activity where the community participants were separated into focused groups to develop a land use map that maps out the location of important resources in the community and as well as different types of activities such as reforestation within the conserved area.
Program for the day concluded with 3-hour walk into the forest where members of the supervision mission joint -team were able to see first-hand trees have been planted on areas that have been previously cleared for coconut plantation to help restore its ecosystem.
The team headed back to Honiara after a short briefing with the Acting Provincial Secretary Mr David Filia in Auki by the National Project Coordinator Ms Cathy Unga and Ms Sarah Tawaka of IUCN.
The EREPA project is funded by the Global Environment Facility under its 6th cycle funding allocation to Solomon Islands, and is executed by the MECDM on behalf of the Government of Solomon Islands.