Delegations from 14 Pacific SIDS involved with the implementation of the Pacific Ridge to Reef (R2R) Program, gathered in Townsville, Australia for the 3rd Regional R2R Project Steering Committee (RPSC) meeting and R2R Postgraduate workshops from the 30th July – 10th August 2018. Representing Samoa was a delegation from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, including ACEO Water Resources Division, Mr Malaki Iakopo; ACEO Water and Sanitation Coordination Unit, Ms. Ruth Ueselani; Pacific IW R2R Project Coordinator, Mr. Niuava Fata Eti Malolo; and the EWACC Project Coordinator, Mr. Laulu Tamati Fau.
The RSPC meeting involved presentations on the progress of national project activities, highlighting implementation successes as well as issues encountered by each of the participating countries. During each of the presentations, there was a lot of knowledge sharing amongst the project teams and technical experts from supporting partners such as the UNDP, FAO, UNE, and SPC. There were also discussions on the regional components of the project and how SPC can further assist the participating islands in monitoring project implementation, carrying out effective stakeholder engagement, and improving reporting not only at the national level but also the region. The first week was concluded by a field visit around Townsville to look at soil resources management, marine and coastal protection, as well as island biodiversity. This included a visit to the Great Barrier Reef.
Following the RSPC was a weeklong training facilitated by the James Cook University on some of the science behind effective R2R strategies and plans. Participants were able to learn about Rapid Coastal Assessments and other research methods aimed at data collection, to help Pacific Island decision makers.
The 4th RPSC meeting is planned around the same time next year in Nadi, Fiji.
For more information on the Pacific R2R Project or Samoa’s activities under this initiative, please do not hesitate to contact the Water Resources Division.