Stewardship Plan adopted in principle with changes to be made

NUKU’ALOFA-January 31: 8.38am (R2R MEDIA): The Fanga’uta Lagoon Catchment Project Steering Committee (PSC), held their first Board meeting for 2017 at the Tanoa Dateline International Hotel last Thursday afternoon and approved in principle the FLC Stewardship Plan – a milestone in the Tonga Ridge To Reef (R2R) project.

With the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of Environment, Hon Siaosi Sovaleni chairing the meeting, the members adopted the Fanga’uta Lagoon Catchment Stewardship Plan — a first for the Pacific Ridge To Reef programme.

Members of the PSC at the Tanoa Dateline Hotel after their Board meeting last Thursday. Photo: R2R MEDIA

With some amendments to be made to some of the clauses, the Stewardship Plan will become the document that Tonga can use for long term management and sustainability of Fanga’uta Lagoon Catchment, help the sustainability of the FLC area and environment and supplement the future livelihood of the different communities that live around the FLC area.

Such a document can also be used for future funding to help further programmes that would supplement the work that has already been done in the current R2R project.

Legal advisor Rosamond Bing presented the Stewardship Plan at the meeting, aided by Secretariat and Tonga R2R Project Coordinator Ta’hirih Hokafonu.

The Stewardship Plan has a five-year Action Plan that requires the working together of all relevant ministries, Non Government Organisations, partners and stakeholders.

The Tonga R2R project and the Department of Environment would like to thank all the PSC Members, MEIDECC CEO Paula Ma’u, Chairman Hon Sovaleni, UNDP rep Kevin Petrini, members of the Non Government Organisations, legal expert Rosamond Bing and Sophie Vander Mereen, the Policy Specialist, for the hard work put in the drafting of the Stewardship Plan.

Legal advisor Rosamond Bing (second from left), with R2R Project Manager Ta’hirih Hokafonu (left) and members of the PSC at the Board Meeting on Thursday. Photo: R2R MEDIA

Ms Vander Mereen, from London, had developed the plan following consultations and worked with Ms Rosamond Bing on the drafting of the Stewardship Plan.

A big malo aupito also to the members of the Technical Committee, the Community Management Committee and members of the 26 villages around the FLC area for their input.

The challenge now is in pushing the Plan through to become part of the legal system so that the groundwork being laid now becomes the stepping stone towards not only sustaining Fanga’uta but making it a place that Tonga can be proud of.

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