Five districts in Bua launch their natural resource management plans this week, as the province takes the lead in showing how villages can work together to deliver more benefits for their communities.

Called Ecosystem Based Management, or EBM plans, each district engaged in community discussions over the last three years, assessing the impacts of such threats as overfishing, poaching of tabu areas, unsustainable logging and farming practices.

The discussions also mapped out practical, local solutions, both on land and in the sea, to ensure that every village could sustainably manage its resources and better meet its food and income needs.

“This is a milestone for the people in these districts as now they can now strike that critical balance between conservation and development and ensure their needs are met without sacrificing the ability of the next generation to do the same,” said Sangeeta Mangubhai, Fiji Program director of WCS, which facilitated the district management planning.

The communities worked at the district level, as many of the challenges facing communities, from fisheries management to land management, extend beyond their borders. For example drinking water depends on an intact upland forest and healthy fisheries often need multiple communities to buy into management rules.

The districts are Vuya, Lekutu, Nadi, Navakasiga and Solevu, and bring the total to 8 of 9 districts in Bua who have district level plans. The management plans will be implemented by Yaubula Management Committees (YMC) in each district, supported by the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Mangubhai said the district plans will also provide a common voice for communities to inform policy makers and government ministries to help prioritize assistance to the most pressing community needs. The next steps include incorporating all the district plans into a provincial level EBM plan.

Early assessments of the value of the plans are strong. Ilaisa Naleba, a District Representative from Nadi, said since his district adopted its EBM plan in 2014, villagers have noticed increase in fish catch within a short period of time being out at sea, and an increase in prawns.

“We’re so thankful to the chiefs for having the vision for a sustainable food system that will also benefit our children and for the support of WCS to turn that vision into an effective management plan,” Naleba said.

“Making the commitment to take on the EBM plan wasn’t easy and the hard work put in by people to make this plan work is worth celebrating,” he said.

The Districts will launch their various EBM in the following dates and venue:

Date District/Tikina Villages Venue
22/8/2016 Nadi Sawani, Nasawana, Nasolo and Nasavu Nasavu
23/8/2016 Solevu Cavaga, Nawaido and Makolei TBC
24/8/2016 Vuya Qoliqoli Daviko Vuya and Navave
25/8/2016 Vuya Qoliqoli Raviravi Nabouwalu and Wairiki
26/8/2016 Lekutu and Navakasiga villages of Nasarowaqa, Namuavoivoi, Kavula, Banikea, Votua, islands of Tavea, Galoa and Yaqaga Navakasiga – Naiviqiri, Nasau, Naivaka