Monday, December 17, 2007

SEM-Pasifika Workshop


After 2.5 yearsof discussion and collaboration, the Pacific region now has a draft se tof socio-economic monitoring guidelines that incorporates indicators used by the Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMA) Network, TheSecretariat of the Pacific Community, and the Global SocioeconomicMonitoring Initiative (SocMon) into a user-friendly format.

On October 29-November 2, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)and the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) co-organized a training on socio-economic monitoring in the Pacific region (SEM-Pasifika). The training workshop also served as a field test of the draft SEM-Pasifika guidelines.

The workshop was held in Galahi, Papua New Guinea, following a regional conference on conservation and the communities. Attendees hailed from Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Hawaii, Fiji, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Papua NewGuinea, Solomon Islands and Indonesia. Seven Paupa New Guinea local community members also joined the training from our field sites of Bwasitau, Sawasawaga and Sunaleilei villages.


The training itself went very well-- after a day and a half of learning background information in the classroom, the participants split intot hree groups and each group was turned loose on a local community. Each group actually undertook the seven steps of a socio-economic assessment starting with defining goals and objectives and ending with making recommendations for adaptive management. As an example, Sawasawaga village had recently implemented a no-take marine reserve in exchangefor construction of a new school. The group surveying in Sawasawaga decided to focus their survey questions on community expectations for and attitudes toward the new marine reserve. Villagers reported seeing increases in certain species such as sea cucumber within the reserve but also expressed some safety concerns-- the location of the marine reserve forces villagers to travel much further by boat, sometimes in poor weather conditions, in order to catch fish for consumption and income.

For the field test on the draft guidelines, the participants provided agreat deal of constructive criticism to streamline and improve the draft guidelines. This input will be incorporated in the coming months before finalization of the SEM-Pasifika guidelines.

(The pictures were taken by Michael Guilbeaux, CCN)

No comments: