The Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF), the Pacific Blue Foundation (PBF) and the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area Network (FLMMA) have agreed to work closely together for the benefit of island and coastal communities. The three organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding that would guide this relationship over the coming years.
The PIDF is a regional organisation tasked by its leaders to bring about the transformation of the Pacific to Green/Blue Economy models.
The PBF and FLMMA are civil society organisations (CSO) actively working with communities to bring transformative changes towards their desired future of vibrant, empowered and resilient communities, primarily through the judicial and sustainable use of natural resources. These CSO partners are also part of the LMMA Network, a growing global movement and network of local champions, grass root communities, NGOs and countries collectively working together using nature-based solutions to effectively manage, restore and protect their island communities and surrounding oceans as the foundation for any Green/Blue Economy efforts.
The PIDF/PBF/FLMMA partnership will initially focus on Beqa and Yanuca Islands to support a process of transitioning the islands to Green/Blue Islands in accordance with principles of Green Economy and Sustainable Development.
The partnership will support the Vanua of Beqa and Yanuca through the Beqa Lagoon Initiative (BLI), a project spearheaded by PBF, integrating all development needs of the lagoon into a single vision of creating a sustainable Green/Blue Island concept based on, but not limited to, green businesses, sustainable fisheries, eco-tourism, smart technology and community well-being. The work will also support on-going work related to organic farming development, ecosystem restoration and ecological conservation.
This partnership also plans to support Fiji’s Low Emission Development Strategy by ensuring all development contributes to reduction of Greenhouse gas emissions by reducing use of fossil fuels and expanding the use of bio-fuel and renewable energy for the communities’ energy needs.
The three partners will also collaborate to produce a national inventory of past, ongoing or planned efforts of Green Island type initiatives relating to sustainability and market access while assessing best practices that are scalable and replicable to be promoted in Beqa and Yanuca Islands, as well as other islands in Fiji and around the Pacific.
PIDF is also supporting PBF, with a collaborative research project with the University of the South Pacific, developing an organic fertiliser from two organisms found to be infesting Beqa Lagoon, over-abundant seaweeds and Crown of Thorns starfish. This would support communities with local production of organic fertilizer while controlling outbreaks of these organisms. This effort is an example of the types of projects that will advance the goals and vision for Beqa and Yanuca to become organic islands, and follows previous successful initiatives in Cicia and Matuku Islands. Loving Islands, a Social Enterprise, who led the organic certification of Matuku island, is also working closely with the partners on this initiative.
PIDF will use the lessons learned from these initiatives to replicate in other PIDF member countries.