The Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Programmes, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 14 countries of the region, have empowered communities to take action and protect their environment.
National Coordinators of Small Grants Programmes from Fiji, Tuvalu, Nauru, Samoa, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu; Global Environment Fund (GEF) Secretariat; national partners and representatives of UN agencies are currently meeting in Sigatoka to discuss the success of the projects they have funded and the programme’s functions in its next operational phase, which ends in 2014.
The five-day GEF Small Grants Programme – Regional Workshop for the Pacific also provides an opportunity for National Coordinators of SGP country programmes to discuss the vision and strategy of the programme, results based management framework and revisit SGP Country Strategies and coordinate regional efforts towards improved and effective grant making and also support toward enhanced networking and partnerships in the SGP Pacific family.
GEF SGP Global Manager, Delfin Ganapin said, “This meeting has provided an opportunity to share lessons and good practices on community-based approaches to biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation and adaptation and preventing land degradation both globally and in the Pacific Region. There are some very good examples of community-led environmental protection programmes that have taken place through our small Grants Programme.”
Participants also visited a sustainable forestry management project in Biausevu Village to see a community led environmental management project in practice. The workshop also included a market place event, where SGP Fiji grantees and partners showcased impacts and results of SGP projects in their various communities. This included work implemented by Bird Life International – Fiji and site support groups in the Natewa Peninsula, advocacy work on turtle conservation by the Mamanuca Environment Society and climate resilience and resource management activities led by Island Development Committees and WWF in the Lau Group.
UNDP Fiji Multi Country Office’s Assistant Resident Representative (Programmes), Asenaca Ravuvu delivered opening remarks on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Knut Ostby and said, “The relevance of the SGP to the Pacific is indisputable. More than 75 percent of population in this region reside in rural areas, including isolated outer islands and have always depended very closely on their natural resources for livelihood and well-being.
The shift from subsistence to commercial economies has put enormous pressure on the Pacific natural resources and the state of our environments. Pacific communities are under increasing pressure to meet the demands of cash based economies by exploitation/extracting natural resources in order to meet their basic needs of survival. This is compounded by impacts of climate change, overharvesting of natural resources, and proliferation of invasive species, high population growth, the global financial crisis, natural disasters and unsustainable development which continues to place the environmental resources under intense pressure.”
The meeting finishes on 2 March.
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