Over 10 residents from communities along Tagabe River joined a mass clean-up campaign to protect and sustain river health on the 20th Sept highlighting the World Clean-Up Day this year 2019 on the 21st of September.
The GEF International Waters Ridge to Reef (GEF IW R2R) Project executed by the Pacific Community (SPC), partnered with the Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation (DEPC), the Tagabe River Management Committee (TRMC) and local residents to clean up along the river banks.
Department of Conservation and Environmental Protection Director Donna Kalfatak said: “This clean-up campaign is significant to raise community awareness on the importance of restoring habitats in the Tagabe River Catchment, recognizing that it is only source of portable water supply in Vanuatu and other services. However, most importantly is to maintain hygienic practices that will also reflect on healthier live hood for resident communities around Blacksand and Tagabe River.
“To ensure that the campaign is effective and that these practices and collective efforts continue in the future, community engagement is key,” she highlighted.
Tagabe River residents commemorated 1 year since the beginning of the campaign that saw quarterly clean ups along the entire river.
The IW R2R Project partnered with the Department of Forestry also partners with SPREP Pacific Ecosystem Based-Adaptation for Climate Change (PEBACC) Project, Ifira Marine Management (IMM) and TRMC to carry out awareness activities with Victory Schools and the surrounding communities on Wednesday 16th October. IW R2R Project Manager Ericksen Packett said: “The awareness campaign promotes sustainably managing natural resources, and the interconnectivity of land, water and coast.
“This activity is significant because the communities around the Tagabe River have continued to mobilize to improve river health and the coastal areas, indicating that they understand that they are connected,” he emphasized.
The awareness and cleanup campaign should be seen as great a privilege provided by the GEF IW R2R Project and SPREP PEBACC Project with the supporting national executing agencies to be able to visibly understand the importance of protecting Tagabe River. Whilst during project duration communities are encouraged to take responsibility continue with these sustainable practices to sustain Tagabe Catchment as the only source of portable water supply in Port Vila” he emphasized.
Victory Hope school students participated in the coastal cleanup and tree planting along the coast to combat climate change and sea level rise by restoring coastal vegetation with some of our most resilient and native tree species in low-lying areas of Blacksand.
One of the Blacksand resident said: “This has been an incredible learning journey for me and my family, and we will continue to promote awareness and action for the health of our environment to support our communities and the future generations.”
Key activities of the IW R2R project, include: Coordinating and supporting development and implementation of the Tagabe Catchment R2R Management Plan; Strengthening capacity for participatory monitoring and evaluation of the Tagabe Catchment R2R Management Plan to strengthen the enabling environment for coastal area management; and facilitating partnerships for sustainable coastal area development established through the application of Integrated Coastal Management and Marine Spatial Planning Approaches.
The Pacific R2R Programme is implemented by UNDP, FAO and UN Environment and operates across 14 Pacific Island countries and aims to deliver tangible and quantifiable local and global environmental benefits by focusing on cross-cutting approaches to water, land and coastal management with linkages across GEF focal areas.