More than 80 men and women of the Southern Mount Maetabe catchment area (Babatana rainforest catchment area) in Choiseul Province have successfully attended the Protected Areas management and enforcement training last week. The participants involved included members of the Protected Areas (PA) Management Committees, Rangers and nominated Inspectors of the Sirebe Forest Conservation Area, Siporae Tribal Forest Conservation Area, Padezaka Tribe, Vuri Clan Forest Conservation Area and Garasa Tribal Conservation Area. Both Sirebe and Siporae Tribal Forest Conservation Areas are legally declared protected areas under the Protected Areas Act 2010 (since 2019), protecting a total of 1400 hectares of their forest. The other three tribes are still working towards declaring portions of their forested land under the PA Law.
The two days training was held at the Malangono Station Conference hall on Tuesday 27th and 28th April 2021. The training was organized by the Natural Resources Development Foundation (NRDF) and the Integrated Forest Management Project (IFMP) as part of the ongoing Protected Areas establishment efforts in the southern Mt Maetabe catchment area (Babatana rainforest conservation catchment area).
The main objectives of the training workshop were to support the participants to understand the enforcement laws and regulations under the PA Act including other related environmental laws, roles/responsibilities outlined in their Management Plans; ensure participants be equipped with skills and knowledge to monitor, report and enforce protected areas breaches or offences to enforcement authorities. Lastly participants should be provided a learning platform for exchange of ideas, views and lessons on managing protected areas, an opportunity to get feedback on rangers and Management Committees for these protected areas on challenges and successes of these sites.
The facilitators at the workshop were staff from the Environment and Conservation Division (ECD), Office of Director of the Public Prosecution (ODPP), Solomon Islands Environmental law Association (SIELA), Solomon Islands Rangers Association (SIRA) and Choiseul Provincial representatives (Forestry and Police). Other important stakeholders who also attended were representative from the Choiseul Provincial Government (CPG), Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), Live and Learn (L&L) and Ecological Solutions Foundation (ESF).
Speaking at the closure of the training, the participants were enthusiastic about the training since it is the first of its kind ever organised for them. They looking forward for more similar trainings ahead. The Organisers wish to convey their sincere gratitude to the Aid Donors (Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Bread for the World and Food and Agriculture Organisation) partners, stakeholders for assistance and lastly the resource owners for recognising the importance of forest conservation.