Fiji Government Minister of Environment Dr. Mahendra Reddy launches Fiji International Waters Ridge to Reef Project community awareness campaign and compost bin handover in Sawani village to commemorate World Environment Day.
As part of his address to the community, Minister Reddy emphasized that: "To care for ourselves, and one another, we must care for nature. It's Time for Nature. It's Time for Action!"
The Pacific Community’s GEF-funded Fiji International Waters Ridge to Reef Project (Fiji R2R IW Project) is implemented by UNDP, executed by the Pacific Community SPC with the Government of Fiji, Ministry of Environment as the national implementing partner.
The project supports the wellbeing of communities along the Waimanu River by protecting this very important catchment area - as a critical water source for the island of Viti Levu, and supporting a rich source of biodiversity for livelihoods. To these ends the project focuses on integrated management of forested watershed to protect land, water, forest and biodiversity resources and maintain carbon stocks.
Home to some 13,000 people, the Waimanu Catchment Area covers almost 200 square kilometers, around 20,000ha. The River is sourced from the ridges of Namosi and is a sub-catchment of Rewa River crossing Namosi and Naitasiri provinces. The Waimanu River feeds in to Wainadoi, Naboro Togalevu, Veisari, Savura and Colo I Suva streams and rivers, draining into the sea.
Fiji IW R2R Project Manager Tavenisa Luisa said: “One of the key threats for Waimanu River is the improper waste management and unsustainable agriculture practices by communities.”
“To improve these conditions, the project conducted community awareness, demonstration of composting and support the establishment of environment committees to reduce the amount of solid waste that is disposed in the village rubbish dumps which eventually finds its way into the waterways and rivers,” she explained.
Sawani village nurse Ms. Taraivini Kobiti said: “I’m so grateful that the compost bin was brought to the village which will assist in the proper management of waste and encourages sorting of wastes in the village. This will enable us to rethink our way life in the village for cleaner lifestyle.”
“Our women and children are always disregarded in the management of waste. Now we will work together to have a clean and a healthy village,” she exclaimed.
A key project benefit is the development and adoption of the Waimanu River Integrated Watershed Management Plan that connects effective management of water, land, forest and coastal ecosystems.
Key elements of the Plan which are useful for upscaling future investments in water catchments, include:
- Priority measures identified and agreed for watershed management;
- Improving state of water source by collecting baseline information and data for prioritization, consolidation and mapping of watershed areas;
- Development and adoption of guidelines for mainstreaming of best-practices in watershed management;