July 9, 2001
Working with Partners
This is Genevieve Johnson speaking to you from Madang in Papua New Guinea.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is a global environmental conservation organization and one of our partners in the Voyage of the Odyssey. We recently met with the project managers of the South Pacific Program who were here in Madang, where they are currently setting up a new field office, to talk about conservation priorities in the region. They discussed with us their work with the local communities in creating effective policy and management strategies in order to prevent further biodiversity loss and of the implementation of effective solutions via a long-term vision and commitment.
Kilyali Kilat, the WWF, Papua New Guinea Country Manager explains:
The World Wildlife fund (WWF) has been active in Papua New Guinea for the last ten years in promoting conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources in the country. A particular emphasis is placed on empowering local communities to have the ability to manage their own natural resources. We work very closely with the national government, non-government organizations (NGOs) and other donor agencies in achieving this. Some of our approaches include raising awareness, capacity building and promoting alternative income earning opportunities in Papua New Guinea.
As Papua New Guinea is a developing country, we are faced with a challenge when it comes to working with the local communities. On one level, we work with the national government on a broad policy setting level. Secondly, our WWF program in Papua New Guinea is working at the local levels, particularly with the landowners. The landowners are the ultimate decision-makers and they are the beneficiaries of the Natural resources in Papua New Guinea.
We do not wish to be only playing an advocacy role, we want to be serious in terms of being out in the field, living with the community so we can help them to understand the development and conservation challenges we are facing in Papua New Guinea. We aim to provide them with options that will help the local communities make the best decisions for themselves.
There are a lot of mining and logging companies doing a lot of damage to the interior of the country, which are actually contributing to sedimentation being washed into the river systems. We know that this is having a big impact on the marine life. We are conscious of this and we would like to raise the consciousness of local communities so they are aware of these issues.
Within this context, I must say that the job being done by the Ocean Alliance in discovering the existence of a sizable sperm whale population in the Bismarck and Solomon Seas is very important to note. We as a conservation agency have plans in identifying the Bismarck and Solomon Seas as a priority 'ecoregion'. WWF is considering developing a bigger program in this region. Through the Madang program, we believe this will give us that opportunity and knowing about the presence of a sperm whale population in this ecoregion, we are very excited about that. We would like to look at opportunities where the Ocean Alliance and the World Wildlife Fund can work together.
The offices of WWF Madang.
Photo: Chris Johnson
The work being done here in Papua New Guinea by the World Wildlife Fund is crucial in terms of raising awareness and offering solutions to the environmental problems this country, so rich in natural resources is facing.
I think the feelings of both the Ocean Alliance and the WWF are most accurately reflected in the words of
WWF Project Coordinator for the Sepik Region, Willie Jondus:
Thank you Ocean Alliance for the opportunity given, I'd like us to keep in touch and keep communications open, I think lots can be achieved together as a team, where we can share knowledge and experience.
Log by Genevieve Johnson