Port Vila, Vanuatu – An inception workshop on Capacity Building and Mainstreaming Sustainable Land Management (SLM) in Vanuatu is currently underway at the Le Lagon in Port Vila.

The purpose of the workshop is to introduce stakeholders to this new three year SLM project, to introduce the United Nations Development Programme– Global Environment Facility Project management requirements and to discuss the 2009 work plan. The project is jointly undertaken by UNDP and the Government of Vanuatu’s Ministry of Lands, Geology, Mines, Energy and Rural Water Supply.

The SLM project for Vanuatu will mean promoting sustainable land use practices using participatory community techniques. The project offers an opportunity to develop and identify partnership opportunities with Government, Non Government Organizations (NGOs), Regional and UN organizations. The project will involve a lot of planning that will include the participation of the formal and non formal sector, it will also look at empowering agricultural officers in the dissemination of proper information on sustainable land management techniques directly to the communities.

Proper land use planning and land management will ensure the sustainability of land at the national and community level, thus adding value to economic performance and reduce, in particular, rural hardship by encouraging sustainable agriculture. It is important that these practices are filtered into the economic and social well being of the ni-Vanuatu people, particularly for those living in the rural areas and who survive on agriculture as their main source of income.

Improved use of land information systems, such as the Geographical Information Systems (GIS), will be a key focus in strengthening capacities of Government and NGO workers. This will contribute to efforts of minimizing soil loss.

Participants of the workshop include officials from the Department of Lands, Agriculture, Forestry and the Environment Unit, Secretary Generals from the Provincial Councils and representatives from the Farmers’ Association and Women’s organizations.

The Deputy Prime Minister, the Honourable Ham Lini-Vanuaroroa, officially opened the workshop on Tuesday December 2, 2008

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