26 Feb 2007

Meeting in Vanuatu looks at helping communities make better use of their resources

6:12 am on 26 February 2007

A meeting has been held in Vanuatu aimed at empowering local communities to make better use of their resources.

The workshop was organised by a regional NGO, the Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific International, or FSPI, and Vanuatu's environment department.

The FSPI's regional manager, Dr Hugh Govan, says overfishing, population increase and climate change all put pressure on marine resources.

But Dr Govan says it is hard for countries like Vanuatu to deal with these problems.

"Cash strapped economies, such as Vanuatu, will very unlikely ever have the resources to patrol their miles of coastlines and thousands of islands. But there are traditional enforcement mechanism which would seem to be very promising. So this meeting is discussing how, with virtually no money, different government agencies, NGO partners and outside donors can actually help those communities."

Dr Hugh Govan says building on traditional systems of governance, such as on chiefly structures, will help to rebuild and sustain these resources.