- Australia AID (AusAID)
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO)
- Institute for Research, Extension and Training in Agriculture/School of Agriculture (IRETA/SOA)
- International Board for Soil Research and Management (IBSRAM)
- International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR)
- South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC)
- South Pacific Commission (SPC)
- South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)
- South Pacific Forum Secretariat (SPFS)
- South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)
- Systems Caribbean
- UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- University of the South Pacific (USP)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
Australia recognizes that the Pacific's natural resource base is both fragile and limited. Australia's AID programme is aimed at enabling the people of the Pacific to develop their resources without doing irreparable harm to the environment. Australia's commitment to assisting the people of the Pacific develop their resources in a sustainable fashion is underlined by the fact that the Government has allocated approximately 130 million Australian dollars to the Region in 1995-96. This is additional to the 325 million Australian dollars allocated to Australia's bilateral development cooperation with Papua New Guinea.
I would now like to speak in a little more detail about some of the areas where Australian assistance is helping the people of the Pacific to manage their fisheries and their agricultural and forestry resources.
By any measure fisheries constitute one of the Region's most valuable resources. Nearly one third of the world's marine resources are found in the Pacific and while many of the island States have limited opportunities for land-based development, each of them has economic control of vast ocean areas. The potential for economic development in this area is clear. For this potential to be realized the Pacific island countries need to develop their capability to survey, assess, harvest and manage access to their marine resources. The challenge for the countries of the Pacific is to develop sustainable management arrangements for fisheries which address the risks of over exploitation while improving economic returns.
Australia has consistently advocated initiatives to assist regional nations to manage their fisheries on a more sustainable basis. Australia has also supported a number of regional programmes for fisheries management - particularly the Forum Fisheries Agency and the South Pacific Commission fisheries programme - as well as funding several bilateral projects focused on development in the fisheries sector. The fisheries training project, run through the South Pacific Commission, is one example. This project conducts and coordinates, on a regional level, training in the fishing industry including: training in modern fishing techniques, the completion of a regular fishing bulletin, a "train the trainers" programme and the distribution of safety information. Australia is also working to build the capacity of Pacific island nations to improve the value of their fisheries resources. One example of this is an AusAID pilot project in dried fish production and export marketing on the atolls of Naumea and Nukufetu in Tuvalu.
We are all aware of the challenges facing the forestry sector in the Pacific. Any degradation of forest resources, particularly in small island States has far reaching implications for other areas of land and coastal zone management. Poor forestry practices have the potential to damage agricultural areas as well as estuarine environments and coral reefs, all of which have their own importance to the regional economy.
Australia supports forestry activities in the Pacific provided that they are sustainable in terms of level of exploitation and purpose.
Through the South Pacific Forum, the Region has recognized the importance of appropriate logging practices with the adoption of a regional Code of Conduct. Australia has been supportive of these regional efforts. I would like to provide a few examples of the type of work that has been undertaken through the AID programme, to assist the countries of the Pacific to manage their forest resources in a sustainable way.
In Fiji, the Forest Resource and Tactical Planning project provides a practical and effective process for preparing environmentally sound "coupe level" cutting plans, establishing hardwood plantation and harvesting plans for larger areas. This project also seeks to enhance skills within the Department of Forests to implement these processes. It includes: the development of new timber harvesting practices which reduce adverse environmental impact; the protection of areas sensitive to weather vagaries as well as areas of archaeological significance; and funding for training Pacific island countries forestry workers.
In Vanuatu, the Sustainable Forest Utilization project aims to sustain forest utilization through better forest management planning, minimizing the environmental impact of logging operations, maximizing returns to resource owners and government, and optimizing participation in harvesting and processing.
These projects are illustrative of the kind of activities that Australia is undertaking in the Pacific to assist countries to manage and maintain their forests. More detail can be found in the attached table.
Australian assistance to the Pacific is also aimed at developing regional capacity in sustainable agriculture. Among the main threats to agriculture production are the impact of natural disasters, disease and general environmental degradation.
Australia is working in a number of areas to assist the agricultural sector in the Pacific.
In Samoa, the Farming Systems project aims at creating increased rural opportunity and income through improved and sustainable farm production as well as developing economically viable crops for production by the farming community with ecologically sustainable farming systems. The project also aims to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the social, economic and physical farm environment by farmers, particularly in relation to crop diversification and plant diseases.
In Fiji, the Soil Crop Evaluation project aims to contribute to self sufficiency in food crops and an increase in export earnings, by defining crop nutrient requirements, on the soils suitable for sustainable cropping systems. The project also contributes to institutional development, by strengthening the Government's capability to undertake appropriate farmer-driven research in agronomy and technology transfer from research to the farmer. The project will determine the fertilizer needs of some major crops suitable for sustained cropping in Fiji.
At a regional level, Australia is also working to train people in the use of tree legumes in agricultural systems by providing a training course comprising a series of lectures, demonstrations and practical classes at the University of Queensland. This will be followed by field visits to research stations and commercial properties across Queensland. The aim of the course is to expose participants to the latest information on the potential for increasing the use of tree legumes in agricultural systems, to review their environmental adaptation, and to examine their role in animal production, soil fertility improvement and erosion control.
Australia funds numerous other regional activities and is the major funding agency for the UNDP/SPC/AusAID regional fruit fly programme and has contributed regularly to the FAO/UNDP South Pacific Forestry Development Programme. AusAID is funding the capital works programme for the Alafua Campus of the University of the South Pacific. These facilities, costing approximately 3.6 million Australian dollars, are now almost complete, and will represent a major step forward for agricultural education in the South Pacific.
The Australian Center for International Agricultural Research, which has an annual budget of 30 million Australian dollars, has established itself as a major centre of excellence in the field of agricultural research in the South Pacific and has a broad and diversified programme of activities in the Region.
This is not a comprehensive list of the natural resource management activities which the Australian Government is undertaking in the Pacific. There are many others. The examples given here do, however, give you a sense of the Government's priorities and objectives in its Pacific AID programmes.
While Australia remains committed to the Pacific Region, I should emphasise that decisions have not yet been taken on aid funding levels for the next financial year, nor on specific sectoral priorities of project funding. Hence our capacity to take on new project commitments across the AID programme is not known at this stage of the budget cycle. Nevertheless, this meeting will provide a very useful opportunity for us to receive feedback from the Region on new priorities and directions in natural resource management, and to obtain advance notice of the kind of projects where Australian assistance may be sought in the near future.
|Cook Islands||Water and Waste Management||0.5 million||A water and waste management study of Aitutaki aiming to develop an integrated plan for water and waste management and to identify activities required to implement this plan.|
|Cook Islands||Vaipeka Water Gallery Extension||0.22 million||Aims to increase the supply of fresh water in Aitutaki and to enable more reliable water supplies during drought periods. The project consists of the provision of materials (pipes and fittings and monitoring equipment), excavation of the site, drilling of bore holes for salinity monitoring, supervision of installation and training on water monitoring equipment and on-going monitoring for a 12-month period following installation of the equipment.|
|Fiji||Forest Resource and Tactical Planning Project||2 million||Aims to provide a practical and effective process for preparing environmentally sound coupe level cutting plans, hardwood plantation establishment and harvesting plans for larger areas. Also seeks to enhance skills within the Department of Forests to implement these processes. Includes the development of new timber harvesting practices to reduce adverse environmental impact and protection of areas sensitive to weather as well as areas of archaeological significance and funding for training Pacific island countries forestry workers.|
|Fiji||Soil Crop Evaluation||5.1 million||Aims to contribute to self sufficiency in food crops and an increase in export earnings, by definition and demonstration of crop nutrient requirements, on the soils suitable for sustainable cropping systems. Consists of institutional development to strengthen the Research Division's capability to undertake appropriate farmer-driven research, training for research and extension personnel, and research in agronomy and technology transfer from research to the farmer. The project will determine the fertilizer needs of some major crops suitable for sustainable cropping in Fiji.|
|Kiribati||Kiritimati Water Supply and Sanitation||0.65 million||The Water Supply and Sanitation Project, located on Kiritimati (Christmas) Island aims to provide a sustainable system to deliver potable water. The project consists of civil works for the extraction and delivery of water from groundwater sources.|
|Solomon Islands||Water Authority||0.65 million||Aims to assist the Solomon Islands Water Authority to provide safe and reliable water supplies and effective waste water disposal systems to major urban areas in the Solomon Islands.|
|Solomon Islands||Science and Agriculture Education||6.3 million||Aims to strengthen science education in the Solomon Islands secondary schools system and to review and strengthen the Certificate in Tropical Agriculture (CTA) at the Solomon's Institute of Higher Education. Aims also to provide personnel to fill gaps at the middle and lower levels in the agricultural sector as well as to provide opportunities for self employment in the small land-holder sector.|
|Solomon Islands||Rural Water Supply and Sanitation||10.8 million||Primarily aims to assist the fledgling rural water supply and sanitation system to develop structures and procedures for servicing the requests and needs of the rural community. The project will be focused on human resource development, health education, and the construction and maintenance of systems.|
|Tuvalu||Outer Islands Fisheries Development||1.3 million||A Pilot project in dried fish production and export marketing. The project involves the construction and equipping of Community Fisheries Centres on the atolls of Nanumea and Nukufetau, and the production of consistent-quality dried fish for local consumption and export. Extensive community consultation and skills training are important aspects of this venture.|
|Vanuatu||Land Use Planning||5 million||Aims to establish a National Land Use Planning Office within the Department of Land Resources with capabilities in database management and land use planning at national, provincial and local or district levels.|
|Vanuatu||Public Utility Management (Rural Water)||0.1 million||Aims to improve the management of rural water supply systems by Provincial Governments and communities.|
|Vanuatu||Sustainable Forest Utilization||5.4 million||Aims to sustain forest utilization through better forest management planning, minimizing the environmental impact of logging operations, maximizing returns to resource owners and Government, and optimizing participation in harvest and processing.|
|Samoa||Farming Systems Project||5.9 million||Aims to create increased rural opportunity and income in Samoa through improved and sustainable farm production; and to develop economically viable crops for production by the farming community within ecologically sustainable farming systems. The project components are: farming systems development; institutional strengthening and human resource development; post harvest development; and project management.|
|Samoa||Fisheries Extension and Training||2.7 million||Aims to provide training in extension and improved fishing techniques with a long-term view to developing a sustainable local supply of fish and shellfish for local and limited export consumption.|
|Samoa||Livestock Sector Personnel Training||2.7 million||Aims to ensure the improved and sustainable development of the livestock industry in Samoa through the institution of a comprehensive training programme. The project consists of training ranging from post to undergraduate level studies, technical training at diploma level, in service technical training, practical attachments in Australia, and the upgrading of the technical and managerial capabilities of officers in the Livestock Division of the Ministry.|
|Regional||Trade Records Analysis of Flora and Fauna and Commerce Oceania (TRAFFIC)||0.105 million||AusAID assistance supports activities involving trade in shark products, South Pacific coral, indigenous timber species and wildlife trade from the Solomon Islands. Also aims to encourage more Pacific island countries to become signatories to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).|
|Regional||International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI)||0.1 million||Aims to promote international and regional action to protect and manage coral reefs and promote a better understanding of their biology and ecosystems.|
|Regional||PACIFICLAND Phase II||0.75 million||PACIFICLAND is a network for the management of sloping lands for sustainable agriculture. The project is managed by the International Board for Soil Research and Management (IBSRAM).|
|Regional||Fodder Tree Legumes Short Course||0.224 million||This is an intensive residential short course on the use of tree legumes in agricultural systems. The course is conducted by the Department of Agriculture of the University of Queensland, in conjunction with CSIRO and the Queensland Department of Primary Industries. It comprises a series of lectures, demonstrations and practical classes held at the University of Queensland. These are followed by field visits to research stations and commercial properties in Western, Central, and Northern Queensland. The aim of the course is to present to participants the latest information on the potential for increasing the use of tree legumes in agricultural systems, to review their environmental adaptation, and to examine their role in animal production, soil fertility improvement and erosion control. The course is designed to suit those who are interested in using tree legumes to improve forage availability in small holder livestock systems, develop sustainable agroforestry farming practices, rehabilitate degraded lands.|
|Regional||Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)||1.3 million per annum||Australia is one of the main donors to the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA). Australia contributes to the core budget as well as supporting specific extra budgetary (XB) activities. Funding for XB is provided on a yearly basis based on an approved workplan submitted by the FFA at annual HLCs. The FFA's main purpose is to conserve and manage living resources, including highly migratory species in the Exclusive Economic Zones surrounding individual Pacific island nations. AusAID's XB funds are used for staff salaries, travel, consultancies, training and work programme costs. Benefits from XB funding include assisting the sustainable use of resources in the Pacific and maximizing Pacific island countries revenues from their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs).|
|Regional||South Pacific Regional Environment Programme
|$1.2 million per annum||SPREP is the inter-governmental organization responsible for environmental matters in the South Pacific Region. Specific areas of the programme being supported by Australia are: (i) protected area management and species conservation; (ii) coastal and environmental management and planning, EIA training and workshops; (iii) environmental education, training and awareness building; and (iv) climate change and sea level rise.|
|Regional||Plant Protection in Micronesia||0.9 million||The Project aims to assist the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands and Republic of Palau improve Plant Protection and Quarantine legislation and procedures to minimize introduction of pests into the Region. AusAID funding will cover costs associated with salaries and overheads, training, publications, equipment, travel and operational costs. The outcomes of the project will include improved plant protection and quarantine services in project countries, trained quarantine and inspection staff, upgraded quarantine inspection facilities and equipment installed, adequate quarantine legislation promulgated, quarantine, procedural/export/treatment manuals produced and implemented, national quarantine awareness, and increased agricultural production for import substitution. The main benefits of the project include local (and regional) agricultural and forestry resources being protected and increased agricultural production.|
|Regional||South Pacific Commission (SPC)||0.7 million per annum||Australian funding is used to support the Fisheries Training Section, Oceanic Fisheries Programme and administration. The aim of this programme is to support Pacific Island administrations in their attempts to manage their marine resources in a rational, sustainable way; to upgrade the technical expertise available within the public and private fisheries sectors in the Pacific island countries; to increase the understanding of fishery management and conservation issues by public and private sector fishery workers and the general public; and to provide fisheries expertise in South Pacific Commission multidisciplinary activities.|
3 The presentation compiled in this appendix are those given in written form to the Secretariat. It is to be noted that UNDP's presentation was not made available in written form.