Vanuatu restoration group

Restoring Tagabe River, Now and Beyond

The Vanuatu National Forestry Week took to Tagabe River Catchment for a week-long celebration to raise awareness on link between forests and the only potable water supply source for the Port Vila communities.

Forestry week is commemorated across the country, and this year the Vanuatu Department of Forestry, declared the week, ‘Restoring Tagabe River, Now and Beyond’.

The National Forestry is usually commemorated with emphasis on commercial forestry. However, this year, the Forestry Department’s Conservation Unit for the first time, focused on the restoration of the Tagabe Catchment.  Development pressures including deforestation and land degradation has meant that water supply and quality has declined. The inter-connectivity between upstream and downstream systems and resources has meant that the Vanuatu International Waters Ridge to Reef Project continues to support the restoration of Tagabe River riparian areas upstream to the Blacksand coastal waters.

The week was held at the catchment area to support the ongoing efforts by development projects, including the Vanuatu IW R2R Project, implemented by the Department of Environment to improve the quality and quantity of ground and surface water. 

Activities included sustainable practices and catchment protection with community river clean-up campaigns and the eradication of invasive water lettuce along Tagabe River.

Other partners in this event included the Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation, Tagabe River Catchment Management Committee, SPREP PEBACC Project and the Officers from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries, and Biosecurity whom are the main organizers.

Vanuatu IW R2R Project Manager said: “It is really promising to see cooperation between community to cabinet stakeholders to protect and conserve nature because they recognize the inter-connectivity between resources – land, forest, water and coast, and the value of coordination and partnership in order to sustainable manage our resources for the future.”

The Honorable Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity Willie Daniel Kalo officially opened the event, along with Director General Moses Amos and the Directors for each Department under this Ministry. The Director of Water Resources, the Port Vila City Council Lord Mayor Area/Ward Councilor were also present on the marking of this event.

This year’s event showcased both R2R-initiated restoration projects with tree planting along riparian areas of Tagabe River and almost 500 trees planted for the catchment restoration project.