SPC Geoscience Division

Home

World Water Day focuses attention on nature-based solutions to the Pacific’s water and sanitation challenges

E-mail Print PDF

Water is nature

22 Mar 2018 | Suva

Could the answer to the Pacific’s water and sanitation challenges be found in nature?

Today the Pacific marks World Water Day, a day designated to acknowledge and celebrate the importance of our fresh water resources. This year’s theme ‘Nature for Water,’ is an opportunity for the Pacific to explore nature-based solutions to the water and sustainable development challenges we face in the 21st century. Nature-based solutions include measures such as planting trees to replenish forests, reconnecting rivers to floodplains, restoring wetlands and utilizing natural technologies such as composting toilets. Such approaches can be a sustainable and cost-effective way to help rebalance the water cycle, mitigate the effects of climate change and improve human health and livelihoods.

 

Nature-based solutions are already being utilized by Pacific nations such as Vanuatu, which has chosen World Water Day to launch a new management plan for its Tagabe River catchment. The catchment is Port Vila’s only source of potable water, supporting the growing needs of residents, agriculture and industry. The plan aims to protect this natural system through measures such as catchment rehabilitation and the establishment of protection zones to safeguard water quality from pollutants.

Commemorating the launch, the Hon. Alfred Maoh, Vanuatu’s Minister of Lands & Natural Resources, acknowledged the importance of the catchment to the health, wellbeing and livelihoods of Port Vila residents. “Citizens of Port Vila rely on the Tagabe catchment as their primary water source, and the plan takes an integrated approach to ensure it is safeguarded into the future,” he said. “Importantly, the plan will strengthen the role of the Tagabe River Management Committee in the sustainable management of this critical water source”

The launch will be followed by active awareness-raising in the communities to ensure that current waste disposal practices show due regard for the management plan. The communities have shown respect for the progress made to date in the Tagabe River catchment and their support for the implementation of the plan is anticipated.

According to the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Director-General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, nature-based solutions can support the efforts of Pacific nations to meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “By helping protect fresh water sources and reducing pollution, nature-based solutions can be a key part of efforts to meet Sustainable Development Goal 6, which commits to achieving universal access to safe water and sanitation by 2030,” he said. “This is particularly important for the Pacific, which as a region continues to lag behind the rest of the world in securing safe water and sanitation for its citizens.”

More information on World Water Day can be found at worldwaterday.org.

 

Media contact:

Dave Hebblethwaite, Water Security and Governance Coordinator, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or +679 9983059

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 April 2018 09:30  

Newsflash

The 19th Annual Meeting of the Heads of National Disaster Management Offices (NDMOs) of Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) is being held from July 01-3 at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi, Fiji.

Mosese Sikivou, Deputy Director of the SPC’s Disaster Reduction Programme, says the meeting will provide Regional Disaster Managers with the opportunity to discuss challenges and opportunities for institutional strengthening and capacity building.

Mr Sikivou says a main objectives of the meeting is to provide Regional Disaster Managers with an increased understanding of the Disaster Risk Management services and products available to them from SPC and other partner organisations

“The meeting also allows SPC, as the regional body mandated to coordinate Disaster Risk Management capacity building, the opportunity to learn from participants and to focus its work programme to better meet the needs of the group,” he says.

This meeting is also supporting preparation for the 2013 Joint Meeting of the Pacific Platform for DRM and Pacific Climate Change Roundtable from July 08-11, also in Nadi.

Mr Sikivou says the Disaster Reduction Programme will also continue to play a critical role in supporting member countries to integrate Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change into all relevant regional and national planning and policy measures.  He says that SPC’s commitment to integrate climate change adaptation and disaster risk management efforts will help Pacific Island countries to improve the way they identify and manage a range of risks that their communities are exposed to.