The Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA) Network has launched an ambitious €4.4 million (US$5.1 million) project in partnership with the Pacific Community (SPC), aiming to bring decades of learning from community-based marine management efforts to scale in the Pacific Islands.
The project is part of the broader Pacific-European Union (EU) Marine Partnership (PEUMP) programme funded by the EU and the government of Sweden and implemented by several regional and international organisations.
“This project, called the 100-Percent Solution, will build on years of LMMA learning in creating bottom-up change to assist all Pacific Island communities in better managing their coastal resources, and safeguard their food security and livelihoods,” said Alifereti Tawake, chair of the LMMA Network.
The LMMA Network will be implementing its 100-Percent Solution via a consortium of partners in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Activities will be implemented for two-and-a-half years starting from July 2020. The project will focus on leveraging LMMA’s learning through low-cost media campaigns and culturally-appropriate outreach tools in combination with targeted investments in building local networks and champions that can drive change and reach underserved communities.
The project will also develop national mechanisms for rural communities to meaningfully participate in discussions on natural resource management, which has been a challenge for most countries.
Tawake said historically that initiatives commonly focus on pilot sites with the objective of later bringing the lessons to scale. But the high-cost of pilot site approaches and the complex governance challenges in developing island nations has put scaling-up out of reach.
Capacity building programmes in government and community-based organisations in LMMA approaches and network development will ensure sustainable outcomes and enable communities to have the ongoing support needed to navigate complex challenges, including ecosystem threats such as climate change and deforestation and the COVID-19 global pandemic which is increasing fishing pressures as national economies falter.
The learning from the country projects will be shared with all Pacific countries and territories, to adapt to their own specific contexts with the goal of supporting all 100 percent of the communities in the region.
“The LMMA has been a beacon for communities globally as the champion for community-driven solutions for decades. With this funding support, we are confident we can finally marshal the resources to ensure decades of learning reaches all communities,” said Hugh Govan, an LMMA strategic advisor.
The LMMA has been working on advancing community-focused approaches since 2000, and has long been recognised as a global pioneer in advocating for the ability of communities to lead conservation efforts and develop participatory management tools that marry western science and traditional knowledge.