WWF South Pacific Labasa Field Office Good for Sustainable Development
Opening the office, Commissioner Northern Ilai Moceica said it strengthens one of the key pillars of Government which is the development of an integrated development structure at the divisional level.
“And I am happy that it has been realised, with not only government departments coming together as an integrated ore, but non-government organisations and other community based organisations also,” Moceica said.
“We serve the same customers and we will be more unified in our approach to development that helps in meeting needs of people.”
United Nations Development Program Resident Representative Knut Ostby also attended the opening ceremony.
The working relationship between WWF South Pacific and the Macuata Province began in 1998 with the women of Tikina Sasa (specifically Navakasobu and Korovuli villages) for the restoration of their wetland areas, the source place for the kuta grass (Eleocharis spp.) the traditional mat weaving material for which the women of the province are known.
Work on the conservation and protection of the Great Sea Reef or Cakaulevu, Fiji’s globally significant area, began in 2004 and is ongoing.
The Great Sea Reef stretches 200 kilometers from Udu Point to the Yasawa coastlines and conservation efforts include the establishment of a network of marine protected areas within the Qoliqoli Cokovata of Macuata (four districts of Sasa, Mali, Dreketi and Macuata), the setup of the Dau Ni Vonu network and Sustainable Land Management training and awareness with communities.
WWF South Pacific Conservation director Sally Bailey said the Labasa office will allow communities to readily access information on the conservation of their natural resources.
“We’ve been in the North, particularly in Macuata, for more than 10 years and this office actually gives us the opportunity to establish our services so that communities can make contact with WWF South Pacific and don’t have to wait for us to come to the village,” Bailey said.
“When they are in town they can come and find information here so this is part of the sustainability of our programme and makes us accessible to our communities on a full time basis.”
Moceica said the Labasa field office strengthens advocacy work on the protection of the GSR and by extension food security for residents of the Northern division.
“WWF South Pacific is a key partner to sustainable development for the Northern Division, the opening of this office re-affirms Vanua Levu’s prioritizing of natural resources management,” Moceica said.
“Vanua Levu is home to the globally significant Great Sea Reef which is an important area that serves livelihoods’ needs for many communities, through food security and income sources.
“WWF South Pacific together with the Macuata Provincial Office and other key partners are embarking on ensuring that the Great Sea Reef is protected in the long term and this presence through the establishment of the Labasa office, no doubt is an encouragement to this advocacy.”
The office is located along Park Street in Labasa town.