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Global change and coral reef management capacity in the Pacific: engaging scientists and policy makers in Fiji, Samoa, Tuvalu and Tonga: general background dossier

South, Graham R. and Chand, P. and Morris, Cherie W. and Bala, Shirleen (2012) Global change and coral reef management capacity in the Pacific: engaging scientists and policy makers in Fiji, Samoa, Tuvalu and Tonga: general background dossier. [Professional and Technical Reports]

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Executive Summary: Sustaining healthy coral reefs is vital to the livelihoods of the people of the Pacific Islands. Global change is having increasing impacts on Pacific coral reefs, leading to increased vulnerability of coastal communities (Reefs at Risk Revisited, 2011. World Resources Institute). Integrating global change into policies across various national government sectors and then, translating this into actions that lead to sustainable management of coastal ecosystems is an enormous challenge. The project sought to address this through face-to-face dialogue between reef experts and government personnel responsible for coral reef management policies. It aimed to strengthen science-policy interaction and linkages and empower policy-makers to make informed decisions. The project targeted four countries all heavily dependent on their coral reefs: Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu. Using the most recent information available on the sustainable management of coral reefs, the project brought Pacific Leaders together with scientists and experts so that they could be apprised of the impacts of global change and of those factors that are affecting the health of their coral reefs. For each country this detailed national dossier was prepared by the project team in consultation with the countries, leading into two-day workshops. The dossier includes a series of issues (including gaps) pertinent to each country which were used in the development of national coral reef plans. About a year later, countries were revisited to review and measure the progress achieved on recommendations on fisheries, marine managed areas, global change and multi-sectoral, multi stakeholder consultations. Although progress varied in the four countries, it was evident that collaboration between relevant government departments needed to be improved and that there was a need for the establishment and implementation of management systems that will be on-going and self financing given the resources available. Workshops were held between June and August 2010, in which a total of some 130 senior officials from Fiji, Samoa, Tuvalu and Tonga attended. The workshops identified priority actions for coral reef management. It was found that all four countries had in place, or are developing, appropriate policies for the sustainable management of their coral reefs, taking into account the anticipated impacts of global change. All lacked, however, an overarching policy and the necessary human resources and expertise required for implementation. This situation highlights the dilemma faced by the small Pacific countries responsible for the custodianship of the unique biodiversity of their reefs. In follow-up discussions two countries (Samoa and Tuvalu), requested our assistance in the development of their National Ocean Policies which would provide the needed over-arching policy and national commitment to sustainable coral reef management. The Institute of Marine Resources has the expertise to do this but would require the necessary funding. The project provided a model for interaction between scientists and policy makers that could be readily extended to other Pacific Island countries or, for that matter, to other island states where the sustainable management of coral reefs is of vital importance for the conservation of valuable reef resources, and for maintaining the livelihoods of people.

Item Type: Professional and Technical Reports
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) > School of Agriculture and Food Technology
Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > Institute of Marine Resources
Depositing User: Ms Shalni Sanjana
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2013 01:26
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2017 00:24

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