Catchments and Communities in the Pacific
In close partnership with the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) and other bodies, technical and financial support is being provided to building the capacity of Pacific island countries in the management of freshwater resources.
A particular focus is on engaging local and indigenous communities in water resources management and monitoring partnerships. From the UNESCO side, this work forms part of the IHP’s Hydrology for the Environment, Life and Policy (HELP) initiative, and more particularly to a Catchments and Communities project in the Pacific, including the Talise Basin in Vanuatu.
The more formalized participation of Pacific-SIDS in the IHP is also being promoted, by rotational participation in the IHP Regional Steering Committee for South East Asia and the Pacific. This follows the participation of Niue (representing the Pacific) at the 12th IHP Regional Steering Committee (RSC) Meeting for South East Asia and the Pacific, held in Adelaide (Australia) on 25-26 November 2004. This marked the first committee meeting at which the rotating membership for Pacific island countries agreed upon at the 11th RSC in Sigatoka (Fiji) was actively employed.
A key activity for 2005 was the organization through a broad regional partnership of the Pacific HELP Symposium, hosted jointly by UNESCO Apia Office and Landcare Research, Ltd., and held in Nelson, New Zealand, adjacent to the Motueka Demonstration HELP Basin during 7-11 November 2005. One purpose of the Symposium was to develop ways in which Pacific Island agencies and communities can better manage land uses, bearing in mind their impact on rivers and coasts. This is the basis of Integrated Catchment Management and a focus of the HELP initiative.
In particular, the Symposium focused on devising ways in which HELP can contribute to strengthening catchment area management practices in the Pacific considering the limited data collection and processing capacity in the region. Symposium participants included nine representatives of six Pacific high volcanic island countries (Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu), as well as a broad range of stakeholders and scientists working in and around the Motueka Basin area and several specialists from other countries in the Asia-Pacific region including Australia and Japan.
Outcomes of the Pacific HELP Symposium were featured at the 13th Southeast Asia and the Pacific IHP Regional Steering Committee meeting - held in Bali, Indonesia, 21-25 November 2005 - among other activities undertaken in the context of UNESCO-IHP in the Pacific through the Pacific Partnership Initiative on Sustainable Water Management. Follow-up to the Symposium is expected to be among the principal focus areas of the Pacific IHP programme for 2006-2007. This period will see the establishment and development of Pacific HELP as a fully fledged subregional catchment management support network to be linked with other integrated catchment area management initiatives in the region.Back to top