Friday, 15 June 2012

Partners with Melanesians Inc. featured at Rio+20

Story by Ms. Kathleen Leewai

Mr. Rufus Mahuru, Project Manager for Partners with Melanesians
14 June 2012 – The voice of Partners with Melanesians Inc. was heard at Rio+20 in an event organised by the United Nations Environment Programme. 

Papua New Guinea was the only Pacific Island nation represented at the “Driving innovation towards a green economy: Lessons learned and recommendations from the field in Asia and the Pacific” event alongside South-East Asian countries Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Singapore.

Mr. Rufus Mahuru is the Project Manager for Partners with Melanesians, a local national NGO that focuses on conservation and community development.

“We work with local communities to facilitate conservation efforts and sustainable community development,” said Mr. Mahuru.

“In this way we encourage more effort in protecting their natural rainforest and discourage communities from going into large-scale logging, mining, palm oil, etc, which is detrimental to the environment.”

Partners with Melanesians are currently working on four projects in various areas of conservation and community development, the Ona Keto Community Project was the feature of his presentation at the Rio+20.

The Ona Keto Community Reforestation and Sustainable Livelihood Alternatives Project is coordinated with two tribes (Ona and Keto) in the Daulo District, Eastern Highlands Province in Papua New Guinea and aims to rejuvenate the forest and inform community members of ways to live off the forest sustainably.

“Much of the work that we do begins with requests from the local communities who ask for our help to get things going when it comes to conservation work. At the inception of our projects there was 70 – 80% involvement from the local communities that drive the initiatives, now it’s 100%.”

Since is inception in 2003, the project has seen greater community mobilisation and engagement with conservation efforts, a return of previously lost flora and fauna, engagement with schools, as well as the recognition of the Global Energy International Award
The other three projects consist of the Managalas Plateau Conservation Area in the Oro Province; Mt Karimui in the Simbu Province; and the Inaina Wildlife Management Area in the Central Province.

The event was held at the UNEP Pavilion at Athletes Park and was a showcase for the Asia-Pacific Forum for Environment and Development (APFED) featuring success stories from five project countries.

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