People power in the Pacific

01 March 2012 | News story

For many people, hearing the words ‘Pacific island’ conjures up visions of a dream holiday. But this dream is a harsh reality for many Pacific communities whose very future is at stake.

Climate change is taking its toll all over the world, but nowhere are the effects being felt more than in the Pacific. IUCN is working with the governments of Samoa and Fiji to show that proper care of water resources can improve the resilience of both people and nature to extreme weather. It can also maintain the health of surrounding natural ecosystems and the stream of benefits these provide.


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In partnership with the University of the South Pacific, IUCN is working with communities on the island of Kadavu, which has one of the largest protected areas in Fiji. Kadavu is situated 90km south of Fiji’s main island Viti Levu and is renowned for its natural beauty and rugged landscapes. But rapid growth and infrastructure development on the island is threatening its rich biodiversity.

IUCN and project partners have brought all the different interest groups together including government agencies to discuss common challenges and ways to address them. A District Catchment Committee has been created in the district of Nakasaleka to oversee the development of a more integrated approach to water management for the area.

“A major boost for the project has been the keen participation from community members. All 13 villages in the district of Nakasaleka agreed to the forming of a catchment committee. The village elders agreed to assign one official representative per village for the committee”, says IUCN’s Dr Milika Sobey.

Training is being given on native forest restoration and this has lead to villages creating their own nurseries, planting native species in degraded upper catchment areas. The exercise has been replicated in two districts outside Kadau.

With increased cooperation and sharing of knowledge like this, the future can seem a lot brighter for many island communities.

For more information contact:
IUCN Oceania Water Programme Coordinator, Dr Milika Sobey, milika.sobey@iucn.org