Strategy Inspires Youth
Youth participant and resource owner Meli Salato of Buavou village said current trends of resource use is worrying from the massive clearing of forests to overfishing.
“Knowing there is a mechanism in place to ensure that natural resources are protected gives us hope because our livelihoods, food security are protected as well,” Salato said.
“We are future leaders of villages, communities and when we actually reach a stage where we begin taking charge and making decision we worry there won’t be enough resource left to manage at all.”
Salato added the strategy should be complemented by a thorough awareness exercise on the importance of the protection of the natural environment and resources at the grassroots level.
“Awareness needs to be taken down to the village and community level instead of just relying on our representatives that attend workshop to revert back with information because sometimes they don’t.”
Senior Environment officer Senimili Nakora agreed it’s time to reach out directly to communities.
“We have done a lot of awareness with representatives and the issues are always the same it doesn’t go right down to the people as expected,” she said.
Nakoro admitted the capacity to carry out environmental awareness may be a challenge though with only three environment officers based in Labasa serving the Northern division.
Deputy chief executive officer for the iTaukei Affairs Board Colonel Apakuki Kurusiga agreed adding an integrated approach towards lifting awareness on the importance of natural resources is best.
“The board already recognises the importance of this and he have a Roko Tui who is in charge of training but the board will have to work with non government organisations and the Department of Environment in an integrated approach of sharing expertise and knowledge to reach out directly to villagers,” he said.
“We are planning for that and should happen eventually.”