Pacific Communities Join Development Training on Coastal ManagementCatch of the Week
Coastal communities, nongovernment organizations (NGOs), government agencies, and concerned groups in the Pacific joined a 3-day development training on integrated coastal and fisheries management and climate change adaptation conducted by the Pacific Department of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The training is part of the technical assistance given by ADB under TA-7753, Strengthening Coastal and Marine Resources Management in the Coral Triangle of the Pacific (Phase II). It was conducted 2-4 July 2013 and attended by participants from Fiji, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea, where training objectives were accomplished in all countries.
In Fiji, the development training of 33 participants yielded 11 draft proposals, eight of which had potential for funding. It was clear, however, that the proponents needed post-training support not only to make their proposals acceptable by ADB standards but also to satisfactorily implement them after approval.
The discussion with Fiji’s Department of Environment focused on the creation of a coastal database which was one of the deliverables under the Institute of Applied Science (IAS) contract. However, the department currently has neither personnel nor equipment to create the database.
An international NGO working in Fiji can be an alternative to IAS in delivering coastal management outputs but it is still unclear if they can be contracted directly without IAS as an intermediary. WWF-South Pacific is preparing a proposal to generate a coastal management plan for provinces along the Great Sea Reef for submission to the TA.
In Vanuatu, Department of Environment Protection and Conservation (DEPC) director Albert Williams expressed satisfaction with the TA performance in developing DEPC through the formulation of departmental strategic plans and the ongoing formulation of divisional plans. He also indicated that the Ministry of Climate Change will absorb DEPC from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources but DEPC’s internal structure will remain unchanged.
A proposal of the Department of Forestry to rehabilitate Tagabe River through an education campaign and the development of a botanical garden was not eligible for TA support because it had no coastal and marine component.
The 3-day project development training produced 11 draft proposals from NGOs, eight of which have potential for funding and having concrete target outputs bringing the total number of proposals to 18 to be submitted for funding.
Meanwhile, the TA supported the proposal of the Department of Fisheries to control the crown-of-thorns (COT) proliferation to increase the resilience of coral reefs. It was agreed that instead of implementing a COT collection project nationwide, the project would first select two or three pilot sites which are dedicated to either tourism or marine protected areas. Baseline data on the pilot sites would then be collected and serve as input in developing a COT control program containing both short- and long-term measures.
There is no international NGO in Vanuatu and the capacity of the regional and local NGOs operating there is largely limited to raising awareness. The September 2012 Aide Memoir between ADB and the government provided for the development of an Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) plan. To meet this provision, the TA requested the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to submit a proposal.
In Papua New Guinea, the Coral Triangle Initiative National Coordinating Committee and the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), represented by Kay Kalim (Deputy Secretary for Sustainable Environment Protection) agreed on the main concepts contained in the four proposals of three International NGOs operating in Papua New Guinea—WWF, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and Wildlife Conservation Society(WCS). The TA and the three NGOs agreed that TNC’s main output in Kimbe Bay would be the development of a provincial ICM and climate change adaptation plan consolidating the existing plans of five locally managed areas. WCS will develop similar plans in Manus Island. The WWF will complement the current western province government initiative of terrestrial baseline survey and sustainable development planning by carrying out similar activities in the coastal and marine areas.
The 3-day project development training produced 11 draft proposals from NGOs, eight of which have potential for funding and having concrete target outputs. This would bring to 18 the total number of proposals to be submitted for TA funding.
The assessment of the 33 NGO and government training participants revealed that while 50% of their organizations have project development skills, updating these skills depends on external sources. Around 25% have no project development skills, while the rest have regularly updated skills.
The NGO and government agencies represented in the training have gaps in their capacity to implement projects and deliver the TA outputs. This is indicated by their demand for training on ICM, ecosystem-based fisheries management, climate change adaptation, participatory approaches, project management, and financial reporting, monitoring, and evaluation.
The environment departments of Fiji, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea agreed that the technical assistance provider in strengthening their database and geographic information system (GIS) capacity must be located in-country or at least in the region to ease mentoring. The University of South Pacific is recommended as the provider for Fiji and Vanuatu, while the TA-proposed GIS specialist based in Solomon Islands is recommended for Papua New Guinea.