The strength, unity and integrity of the Vanua is the main building-block for successful community based management of natural resources. Two weeks ago a workshop was held in the chiefly village of Dakuibeqa, on Beqa Island, as part of the Beqa Lagoon Initiative, a project led by Pacific Blue Foundation (PBF), in collaboration with Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area (FLMMA) and the Rewa Provincial Office. This initiative is the first of its kind in the Central Division to target island-wide YMST (Yaubula Management Support Team) committees, focusing on creating the structure for community-based management. The workshop culminated in the designation of district level YMST committees, targeting the creation of an Island-based committee, which is linked to village-based committees throughout Beqa Island.
This workshop followed a previous workshop held in Dakuibeqa in May 2018, which was an unprecedented and historical event wherein the leadership from all nine villages on Beqa Island from the two districts of Sawau and Raviravi, came together for a three-day workshop on natural resource management. The workshop, which was facilitated by PBF, FLMMA and the Rewa Provincial Office, allowed the Beqa Island leadership to form a shared vision, to identify the threats, target solutions, and potential pathway for managing them. The Fiji Government Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry of Forests, Ministry of Agriculture, and the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji, sent representatives who helped in providing potential solutions to the imminent threats challenging the social, economic and environmental integrity of the Beqa Lagoon area.
These workshops had culminated with YMST committees formed for the two districts on Beqa Island and paved the way for a Beqa island-wide natural resource management committee to form. The committees will allow streamlining the provincial level committee’s management plans, which had formed earlier this year, to the island, and through the districts down to the action plans of each village. These plans include projects for the sustainable management of the natural resources and sustainable development in Beqa Lagoon, focusing on climate change adaptation, coastal rehabilitation, environmental conservation, fisheries management, and sustainable development of the villages.
The importance of the workshop was highlighted by the participation of the Marama na Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa, paramount Chief of Rewa Province, who closed the workshop, by acknowledging the strong community leadership represented by the integrated island-wide vision of the Beqa Lagoon Initiative.
The article in the Fiji Times can be seen Here.