Nacula district hold final sustainable development plan consultations
The final round of discussions was held at Malakati village provides individuals from seven communities to prioritize on development issues in the first five years of the Nacula District Development Plan.
“This consultation allowed the communities and WWF-Pacific to finalize the plan that has been in discussion for the last three years. It has been a patient and long process and we are grateful for the effort WWF-Pacific has put in. This plan will be our road map for development and at the same time ensures that development is done through a sustainable process,” Nacula District Representative, Saimoni Naivalu.
“Health and sanitation is an area that we hope to address because we still have a few houses in the district that are still using pit and water seal toilets despite the availability of piping water system.” Naivalu said.
Well-being is another area the communities have chosen to address in the next five years.
“The consumption of processed food is a problem faced in Nacula with many families resorting to noodles and canned foods for meals. A lot of people are employed at the nearby resorts and the high consumption of kava is also a contributing factor now.”
“We have the sea at our door step and vast amount of land for vegetable and crop farming and so we have been working with the Ministry of Health to create awareness on eating healthy, however, changing mind sets takes time,” added Naivalu.
Due to the Nacula’s location in the ‘dry’ region of Fiji, it is prone to challenges such as drought, water shortage and salt water intrusion and the need to conserve water is a priority for many people.
“Water is everything for us. We need sustainable water sources for the communities and this plan will help us. There are 26 houses in Navotua, and only 6 have water tanks. The village’s two storage water tanks assist other houses in providing water for cooking, washing and drinking. During the dry season, we have to switch these two storage tank valves to fill the tank and then switch them back on twice a week for the villagers to use,” revealed Navotua village headman, Ame Rokotuibau.
According to Lavenia Naivalu, the women’s representative of Nacula district says despite women accounting for around 49% of Nacula’s population, they are not equally engaged in decision making processes and women’s issues are not addressed effectively.
“The plan is really good as it identifies women’s needs within the district. Issues such as water and sanitation are important to women and the plan safeguards that. Women make up almost half of the population and it provides an opportunity for women to be involved in discussions. This is a big win for us,” Naivalu highlighted.
The Sustainable Development Plan is a partnership between the communities of Nacula district, relevant stakeholders, Government and the World Wide Fund for Nature – Pacific (WWF-Pacific) through its USAID Pacific American Climate Fund (PACAM) and German funded ‘Living with Change: Resilient Mangroves, Fisheries and People of Fiji and PNG’ projects.
The Nacula District Sustainable Development Plan was developed through a series of consultations, with the maritime and urban communities of Nacula district and stakeholders that included Government.
WWF-Pacific’s project climate change support officer, Apolosa Robaigau says, the Nacula District Sustainable Development Plan is intended to promote integrated development and enhance the proper management of natural resources at the district level.
“The Sustainable Development Plan also looks at addressing the sustainable management of resources and reducing vulnerability of communities to natural disasters and climate variability. It is also aligned to the Fiji National Green Growth Framework, Fiji National Development Plan and other national policies,” Robaigau revealed.
The consultations over the last three years have enabled the community members of Nacula to identify issues in their communities and potential measures to address the issues identified.
Focal areas identified included; Education, Spiritual Development, Health and Wellbeing, Sustainable Water Sources, Energy, Transportation, Economic Security, Women Development, Youth Development, Traditions and Cultures, Traditional Leadership and Governance, Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, to Climate Change and Sustainable Financing.
The Nacula District Sustainable Development Plan will be launched in the first week of August and is a 20 Year Plan from 2018-2038.