Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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University Chair Summary
Planned UNESCO Chair in Wise and Locally-relevant Approaches towards the Management of Coastal Regions and Small Islands at the University of Papua New Guinea

Revision Date: 1st April, 2001.
Title:  UNESCO Chair in Wise and Locally-relevant Approaches towards the Management of Coastal Regions and Small Islands at the University of Papua New Guinea
Goals: In the short term, to institutionalise an integrated approach to academic research programmes within the university of Papua New Guinea, particularly among the following disciplines: anthropology and sociology, environmental science, geography, biology and community medicine. An immediate goal is to publish and/or co-publish existing manuscripts in relevant fields to raise funds for research activities. In the long term, to utilise local expertise in ways that would stimulate and revamp research activities in such areas whilst providing adequate training for young and promising researchers; to provide advice on current national and local policies; and to support and ensure the continuation and expansion of existing pilot projects both within and outside the country.
Location: University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), Port Moresby, National Capital District, Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Starting Date: June, 1999, the Chair has yet to be formally established.
Partners: University of Papua New Guinea, Office of Environment and Conservation, PNGBioNet, Pacific Adventist University, Wau Ecology Institute (PNG), National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI); UNESCO Coastal Regions and Small Islands platform.
Contact Person:

Dr.Linus s. digim’Rina, Head, Anthropology and Sociology Department, University of Papua New Guinea, PO Box 320, University PO, National Capital District 134, Papua New Guinea.
Tel: 675 326 716(3/4) Fax: 675 326 7187
e-mail: lsdigi@upng.ac.pg

Future Chairholders:

It is planned to rotate the Chair among the following persons for the first five years:
Dr.Linus s. digim’Rina, Anthropology & Sociology, UPNG – 2002
Dr. Frank Griffin, Biology, UPNG - 2003
Mr. John Duguman, Environmental Science, UPNG – 2004
Dr. Budai Tapari, Geography, UPNG - 2005
Dr. John Muke/E. Kinkin/J. Ketan – Anthropology and Sociology, UPNG – 2006.

Description: The following concerns provide the rationale behind the establishment of the Chair:
(1) Lack of institutional research efforts relating to coastal and small island populations, environments and locally-adapted living strategies.
(2) Inadequate efforts to integrate existing indigenous wise practices and wisdom into institutionalised research programmes and teaching methods.
(3) Lack of genuine integration of local expertise in applied research, training and projects.
To date, the following activities have been/are being undertaken:
(1) Submission of a draft proposal for the Chair to UNESCO.
(2) Establishment of a pilot project: ‘Promotion of indigenous wise practices: medicinal knowledge and freshwater fish, Moripi Cultural Area, Gulf Province; food security, Trobriand Islands, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea’. Local villagers and UPNG students have been involved as researchers, advisors, informants and commentators.
(3) Establishment of a pilot project: ‘Sound Development in the Motu Koitabu urban villages, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea’. Prominent community leaders and villagers have participated along with social studies students from the UPNG.
(4) Dr. John Muke is currently completing a city-wide survey of the issues related to poverty alleviation focusing on squatter settlements in the city of Port Moresby. This project is being undertaken in conjunction with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, UPNG. Senior students in anthropology have been engaged in numerous social surveys for this project since 1998 and a publication is in preparation.
(5) Dr. Frank Griffin has established initial arrangements for research collaboration with a university in China.
Achievements & Assessment: The activities described above are the foundations for the anticipated activities of the Chair when it is formally instituted. However, it should be borne in mind that, as a country, PNG has had many offshore concepts, ideas and proposals bearing the catch-words ‘sustainability’ and ‘research collaboration’ thrust upon it, and many failed to last. In order to ensure the UNESCO Chair does not follow the same path, it is proposed that the activities should be low-key initially, concentrated amongst a few researchers, to allow effective and practical progress. Gradually the project will expand outwards within the country thereby pursuing its overall goal. A symbiotic relationship between staff and students for research coordination at the university is anticipated.
The following administrative heads at UPNG have been approached, and their preliminary endorsements of the project are very encouraging: Vice Chancellor, Director (Planning), Dean (Social Science), Dean (Natural Sciences), and Dean (Postgraduate Studies).
Future Directions: The concept for the Chair is based upon the existing research capabilities of UPNG including both staff (expertise) and students (training), and on specific cultural, environmental and scientific interests. In the long run, the Chair will provide:
(1) A viable graduate programme centred on coastal regions and small-island environments.
(2) Data that can be used for both teaching at various educational levels as well as disseminating information to the general public.
(3) Local incentives and knowledge on wise practices.
(4) A stimulating research environment at the tertiary level.
(5) Inter-disciplinary as well as inter-institutional research activities and collaboration in the region.
Introduction Activities Publications Search
Wise Practices Regions Themes