Vanuatu is an archipelago of 83 islands in the South Pacific enriched with amazing flora and fauna. It is a country where the majority of the people live in rural areas and are dependant on their surrounding environment and natural resources to thrive. Consequently there is a strong bond between Ni-Vanautu and their land. But there is little scientific study of the plants animals and their interactions with each other. At VESS we believe that  both indigenous knowledge, passed down from generations of people living on the land, and scientific knowledge together will assist this and future generations to live harmoniously within our changing environment. VESS aims to fill the knowledge gaps that exist in relation to our environment and the flora and fauna resident here so we understand our natural world and can develop the tools to ensure sustainable use of our natural resources as well as preserving Vanuatu’s unique biodiversity into the future.

Vanuatu sits within the East Melanesian Island’s Hotspot for biodiversity. Our islands are young, in geological terms, and remote and this has lead to a high level of endemism which means that there are many animals and plants that live in Vanuatu and no where else in the world. Vanuatu is surrounded by coral reefs which are home to an array of beautiful marine organisms. Our costal waters are also visited by migratory species such as whales and marine turtles. Some of these species are threatened with extinction and listed on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. VESS will work towards improving the prospects for these threatened plants and animals and increase their chance of survival. You can find out more about the richness of East Melanesian Islands Hotspot from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund’s (CEFP) website and the EMI ecosystem profile. The CEPF is currently funding projects in Vanuatu including supporting VESS. This website was built as part of a project funded by CEFP. 

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It is Bat week this week all around the world. Here is a message from Martika, who is working on our bat conservation projects:
Happy bat week everyone!
All around the world, people are celebrating an appreciation for bats. Do you know why? Bats are superstars and amazing creatures that are vital to the health of many ecosystems and economy. We may not always see them however bats spent most of their time at night eating tons of insects, pollinating flowers and spreading seed that grow new plants and trees.
Do you know? There are 11 different species of bats confirmed to be found in the Vanuatu Islands. The biggest (mega) bats are the flying foxes or the fruit bats. Most of these species occur in other countries, however the Bank’s Flying fox and the Vanuatu Flying fox are endemic to Vanuatu – they only live in Vanuatu and nowhere else .

Some of these bats are threatened with extinction. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list assessment, Banks flying-fox are classified as Endangered and Vanuatu flying-fox are Vulnerable. So, what can you do to protect the bats in your area?

VESS has been visiting communities in the banks Islands, researching the bats and sharing information on how valuable bats are to the ecosystem. We have been teaching communities to monitor bats and already communities have put tabus on hunting bats particularly in their roosting sites.

This week lets appreciate and spread the word about the important roles’ bats do to us and the environment. Whatever you do each day, step outside at dusk, look around for bats in your area and if you do see them, think about how they are helping us to keep our environment healthy and what you can do to protect them.
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Don't forget there is a consultation on the nappy ban tomorrow (Tuesday) at the Chamber of Commerce. Here is the notification from the chamber:
IMPORTANT CONSULTATION MEETING ON DIAPER BAN TOMORROW
The Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation (DEPC) is currently undertaking a nationwide consultation in relation to the Government's decision on the Diaper Ban. It has been stated that the ban will be implemented nationwide on December 31, 2020.
You are invited to attend the meeting which will be held at the Chamber of Commerce tomorrow, 20 October at 2:30pm at the VCCI Conference Room.
For those who are not able to attend or are not in Port Vila to attend the planned consultation, below is the details of the Diaper Ban Zoom Meeting which you can join in to voice your concerns to the DEPC tomorrow:

Topic: Diaper Ban Zoom Meeting
Time: Oct 20, 2020 02:30 PM
Join Zoom Meeting: us02web.zoom.us/j/82946696953
Meeting ID: 829 4669 6953
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Recycling after the cyclone ... See MoreSee Less

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