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 gerneations 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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Calling all artists!
Join artist Sue Ryan (Ghost Net Art Project) for a workshop in Vanuatu

Tuesday 22nd to Saturday 26th January 2019
At Alliance Française, Port Vila

Places for the workshop are limited so please register with VESS by emailing or call 5343801 by Monday 21st January to avoid disappointment. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Internationally renowned artist Sue Ryan, architect of the Ghost Net Art Project, will run a workshop in Vanuatu turning abandoned or discarded fishing nets, line and other marine debris in to art. Sue has worked for ten years with remote indigenous communities in the South Pacific and
Australasia, with artwork program pieces that have been purchased by art collectors worldwide (Monaco, Switzerland, Paris, London and Australia, to name a few). During the workshop she will inspire and teach her skills to artists in Vanuatu so they too can turn trash into treasure.

“I’m really looking forward to visiting ... every community has a unique voice and skill that brings something new and exciting to the conservation about marine litter. Everyone takes great delight in turning rubbish into beautiful objects of value and helping spread the word about their own community and telling a unique story in their way” Sue Ryan, Ghost Net Art Project.

This workshop is being organized by TierraMar and VESS as part of the Commonwealth Litter Programme (CLiP), executed by the UK government’s Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) who are working with partners across the Commonwealth to share expertise and find solutions to the environmental and socio-eccomonic problems caused by litter in the marine environment.

As part of the Commonwealth Litter Programme (CLiP) TierraMar and VESS are also running a competition for artists to showcase inspirational artworks and ideas about how to tackle marine litter in the Pacific. This workshop will inspire and teach new techniques, giving the artists ideas and skills for the best chance to win this competition and win a trip to present their art at the International CLiP conference in the UK. In addition, there are thousands of dollars of runner-up prizes to be won in the competition.
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Vanuatu Environmental Science Society

Have you seen any lost abandoned or discarded fishing gear in or around Vanuatu? If you have please help us learn more about ghost gear by completing this survey:
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A you a student studying in a commonwealth pacific island country? Do you have a fantastic idea on how to combat the marine litter that is polluting our environment? Then make a video or presentation about it, or write about it and enter up to two ideas into the CLiP ideas competition. If you win you could be presenting your idea at the CLiP marine litter conference in London!! #PacificMarineLitterCompetition
Open to students in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu
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