Over 200 participants gathered in Honiara during the first week of October to share science, lessons and stories in efforts towards alleviating threats to the natural environment of Solomon Islands.
The weeklong event was the first of its kind to bring together stakeholders to discuss the issue of resource mananagement. The long held idea of a ‘National Symposium’ was led by the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM) and Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR). The event saw participants convene from across the country – from Choiseul Province in the northwest to the easternmost Temotu Province. Two Premiers representing Malaita and Choiseul Province also attended, along with the Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Honorable Samuel Manetoali.
During his opening speech, Minister Manetoali reinforced the importance of the natural environment to Solomon Islanders, along with their responsibility to manage these resources in order to sustain them into the future. "We are endowed with natural resources based on land and in the sea...yet the dependency of the country's economy on extraction and export of natural resources puts pressure on these resources. This symposium is a significant step in reinforcing and advocating the importance of resource management to sustain the country's resources".
The symposium was well received and it is hoped that the event will become a biennial gathering in order for conservation practitioners to come together to share lessons, research and ideas for managing the natural environment of Solomon Islands.