Greetings from the Pacific Islands or should I say Kaselehlie, Ran an nim, Lwen wo, Mogethin, Iakwe, Alii, Tirow, or Hafa adai!
My main role as the Pacific Islands Managed and Protected Area Community Socioeconomic Monitoring Regional Coordinator and Mentor (PIMPAC SEM Regional Coordinator/Mentor) is to provide an on-going coordination and communication with jurisdictional teams and assist in carrying out training’s, assessments, and monitoring at community conservation sites or protected sites around the region each year. The SEM Regional Coordinator/Mentor work closely with PIMPAC strategic goals and objectives, and the Micronesia Challenge (MC) Coordinator to ensure data is communicated and supports MC goals.
PIMPAC is a social network that targets capacity building through training and technical support, learning exchanges, partnership building, communication and information sharing to develop and strengthen site-based and ecosystem-based management practices (PIMPAC, 2018).
The MC is an aggressive commitment set forth by the pacific islands nations of Palau, Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the US Territories of Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands to preserve the natural resources that are crucial to the survival of Pacific Islander traditions, cultures and livelihoods (One Micronesia, 2018) . The MC goal is to effectively conserve at least 30% of their near-shore marine resources and at least 20% of their terrestrial resources throughout every jurisdiction by the year 2020 (Lujan, 2016).
My first assignment was in Yap, the most westerly state of the Federated States of Micronesia. My project was to assist in an ongoing Socioeconomic survey data collection and analysis for the community of Weloy. Weloy is home to the Nimpal Channel Marine Conservation Area (MCA) declared in 2008 by the Kaday and Okaw villages. This community-based conservation and management approach instituted successfully and has an ongoing biophysical data collection and analysis, however, there is a lack of socioeconomic data to fully understand the impacts of the Nimpal Channel MCA. The main objectives of this survey are to understand the Weloy communities natural resource use, climate/disaster awareness and coping capacity, and awareness and support of Nimpal Channel MCA.
Our preliminary results showed that over 90% of the Weloy households are dependent on natural resource for sustenance, over 90% harvest or consume fish at least a few times a year and over half depends on natural resources for source of income. On the other hand, over half of the Weloy households perceive that their natural resources are in bad to very bad condition and are getting worse.
The top most voted threats to the environment are climate change, pollution runoff and wildfire with climate change being the number one most threat to the environment according to the Weloy surveys. Over 90% of the household’s view climate change and extreme weather conditions as a major threat to their livelihoods, however, there are less than 10% believe that they are prepared to cope with climate change or natural disasters.
Most households surveyed heard of the Nimpal MCA with 72% aware of the Nimpal MCA and 89% want to know more about it. Over 90% support the Nimpal MCA zones, management, enforcement and rules set forth in the management plan. Close to 90% of all households believe that the NImpal MCA has helped maintain or improve populations of important food fish and invertebrates both within and outside the protected area, over 75% believe it has helped maintain or improve the health of coral reef in the protected area and surrounding areas, 80% believe it helps maintain their culture and customary fishing practices and will help secure food for future generations.
The initial results were presented to the Weloy community and interested surrounding community members. The next steps for this project was to get a detailed analysis of all the data collected and use the results to help the community draft an adaptive management plan to update the current Nimpal MCA management plan.
Lujan, E. (2016). Micronesia Challenge.
One Micronesia. (2018). About the challenge. Retrieved from One Micronesia: A campainge to conserve our shared resources: http://themicronesiachallenge.blogspot.com/p/about.html
PIMPAC. (2018). PIMPAC. Retrieved from Pacific Islands Managed and Protected Area Community: http://www.pimpac.org/aboutus.php