VESS stakeholder meeting 2017

Invitation to attend VESS Stakeholder Meeting

9am -12 noon Tuesday 28th March

Chantilly’s Hotel conference room

We are holding a stakeholder meeting and would like to invite government departments, NGOs, organisations and individuals who have an interest in the environment and conservation to participate. We are currently implementing a GEF-funded Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project and a project to raise awareness of threatened species in Vanuatu. The purpose of the meeting is to introduce VESS to those you do not know us, to report on our current projects and to investigate possibilities of future projects and collaboration for the benefit of conservation in Vanuatu. We would also like to consult with our stakeholders to see what priorities are important to people in Vanuatu.

Schedule:

09:00                           Start of meeting

09:15                           Introduction to VESS and annual report – Dr. Christina Shaw

10.00                           report on current projects – Douglas Koran and Leilani Nalo.

10:30                           Break for coffee and muffins

11:00                           Up-coming projects to start this year – Dr. Christina Shaw

11:30                           Discussion on future projects and priorities for VESS

12:00                           Meeting ends

Presentations will be made by our CEO Christina Shaw, as well as the two Ni-Vanuatu scientists who are employed on our projects. We very much hope that you are able to attend but understand that everyone has busy schedules. Please feel free to pass on this invitation to anyone who you think may be interested in coming to the meeting. For catering purposes we would appreciate an RSVP to vess@vanuatuconservation.org by the morning of Monday 27th March.

We hope to see you on Tuesday

VESS has an opening for an Australian volunteer

There is an opportunity to volunteer for VESS. If you are Australian and have experience in ecotourism or threatened species management then you may be interested in this assignment. Applications close on 21st March. Here is a description of the position:

Take a walk on the wild side and help conserve Vanuatu’s threatened species and ecosystems whilst improving the livelihoods of the local community!

Vanuatu lies in the East Melanesian Islands hotspot for Biodiversity and has a high number of endemic species and iconic species such as dugongs and sea turtles. There are untapped opportunities to develop ecotourism products based on this natural wealth. However there is a fine balance between tourism helping threatened species and causing them or communities harm. Your expertise will shift the balance in favour of conservation whilst improving local livelihoods.

VESS is a young organisation and our aim is to use science as a tool for conservation in Vanuatu and to encourage Ni-Vanuatu scientists. VESS is currently implementing the Dugong and Seagrass Conservation project, a global GEF-funded project involving eight developing countries. We are also working on a CEPF-funded project to increase awareness of threatened species in Vanuatu. Ecotourism potential involving these animals and plants will be explored under these projects and incorporated into workshops derived to communities.

You will identify potential ecotourism products involving wildlife that could improve livelihoods of people. You will help develop guidelines and codes of conduct for tourism operators to improve the livelihoods of these animals and plants, and the people who share their habitats. You will also investigate opportunities for “voluntourism” as a sustainable mechanism for funding conservation programs to protect Vanuatu’s threatened species.

In your role you will help the VESS Ni-Vanuatu scientists, officers in the Department of Tourism and community members better understand the benefits and pitfalls of ecotourism involving wildlife. – See more at:

Find the details of the assignment here: Wildlife_Ecotourism_Advisor

If you are interested find out how to apply via this link.

Donna the dugong meets Nasi on World Wildlife day

Today 3rd March 2017 is World Wildlife Day and VESS partnered with VAN 2017 to celebrate this day with students from classes 5 and 6 at Erakor French school. Nasi and “Apu” met up with Donna the Dugong and the namaloa to raise awareness on the Threatened Species in Vanuatu and the importance of keeping the Environment clean and safe for all of us. It was an interactive session where students listened with keen interest and answered some basic questions about endemic species and habitat loss. To end with, students sang along with Nasi and his friends about proper rubbish disposal. Afterwards, Nasi and his friends all went down to the beach for a photo shot among the mangroves.

By Leilani Nalo and Douglas Koran.

Here is the press release from the Vanuatu 2017 Nasi & friends observe World Wildlife Day in the wild

World Wildlife Day 2017

Today, 3rd March is World Wildlife Day. The UN theme for this year is “Listen to the young people”. The VESS team is heading out to Eratap to meet up with Nasi the Vanuatu2017 Minigames mascot to visit some schools and find out what the kids think about wild animals and plants. Nasi is a rainbow lorikeet, one of Vanuatu’s most iconic wild birds. He will be chatting to Donna, the VESS dugong mascot about life as a wild animal in Vanuatu. I am sure the Namalao will have some insights too. Both the Namalao and the dugong are threatened species and their future depends on whether people can help them. Namaloa are endemic which means they only live in Vanuatu so they depend on Ni-Vanuatu people look out for them. So today on World Wildlife day we would like to encourage everyone to think about the wildlife in Vanuatu and do one thing to help today.

Click on the following link to see the message from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

World wildlife day message 2017

Featured photo: Red-bellied fruit dove by Wojciech Dabrowka

The Great Backyard Bird Count

Have you got a spare 15 minutes this weekend? 

 The Great Backyard Bird Count is on February 17-20, 2017

Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds. Now, more than 160,000 people of all ages and walks of life worldwide join the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds. For the first time Vanuatu is going to join in and so can you! Either do your own count or join us on ours.

All you need to do is for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, February 17-20, 2017, simply tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see. You can count from any location, anywhere in the world, for as long as you wish!

You can conduct your own GBBC tally in your own garden, close to where you live at your school or place of work. Or if you want to join VESS we are meeting at Independence Park at 12 noon on Friday 17th (tomorrow) to count the birds we see there. So if you have 15 minutes spare in your lunch hour come and join the count. We will have our bird identification books there to help id the birds and Leilani, one of the VESS scientists will upload all the data from our count onto the GBBC database. 

If you want to do your own count all the information you need is on the GBBC website

Photo credit: Wojciech Dabrowka.

The Vanuatu Government has released the new sustainable development plan

 


Here is what it says about the environmental pillar:

A pristine natural environment on land and at sea serving our food, cultural, economic and ecological needs

As custodians of a unique chain of islands and expansive ocean we have an inherent responsibility to protect and preserve our natural resources. The Constitution explicitly obligates everyone to protect and safeguard national resources and the environment for the present and future generations. This is not only the right thing to do, it is fundamental to our wellbeing and prosperity. We need to realise the true cultural, economic and social value of our natural capital, biodiversity and ecosystems. Together with our ancestors we have lived in harmony with our natural surroundings for many millennia. Today we face increasing development pressures exacerbated by globalisation and the decline of traditional resource governance. These pressures threaten the very environment that secures the basics of life – food, water and energy systems. Our rich natural beauty also presents a key to our shared prosperity, including through a wealth of natural tourism assets.

Integrating sound environmental and waste management into our social and economic progress is crucial to meeting our national vision. With environmental degradation a common global challenge, Vanuatu has the potential to be a world leader in Blue-green growth and sustainable development. In return we will seek to capitalise on the rapid advances in technology and innovation that can complement traditional knowledge to better utilise our natural assets on land and at sea to ensure our food security, maintain our cultural identity, and enhance our economic prospects. We can and must do this without destroying our ecosystems and biodiversity.

Down load your copy herehttp://ogcio.gov.vu/images/nsdp/Vanuatu2030-EN.pdf