BY ELLISON VAHI
WITH the increase in awareness to conserve dugongs in the country, a total of 50 participants competed the National Dugong & Seagrass Art & Creative Writing.
The participants were awarded at the SINU school of Technology & Maritime studies during the Wednesday National Dugong & Seagrass Art & Creative Writing Award event.
Giving her remarks, Mrs Rosalie Masu, Deputy Director, and Inshore Fisheries Division said that she was very encouraged to see the creativity and talents that have been displayed through the competition and said that she is sure that the judges might have had a difficult time judging the works as they are all of high calibre.
Deputy Director –conservation, ECD/MECDM, Mr Josef Hurutarau also said that the national event has highlights the importance and significance of the mammal to the people of Solomon Islands.
He said that while he too was honoured to join the award ceremony, the National Dugong & Seagrass Art & Creative Writing competition is one of the climax of the Dugong & Seagrass conservation programme (DSCP).
“As we witness this award giving ceremony I ask that we also share deep reflections on true values of dugongs as translated in those writings and piece of artworks.
“Essentially as a campaign tool, encouraged by this competition it helps to raise awareness in schools and amongst public to improving knowledge on this mammal, appreciate the importance and values of dugong as well it also reminds us that dugong population is vulnerable and can easily become extinct.”
Hurutarau continued that his Ministry will continue to encourage the participant’s contribution and support through conservation messages and reliving values through art and stories.
“As we are a very verbal community, distant touch with nature is becoming inevitable therefore, we need to be inspired through captured memories through time and space.
“Also, I wish to encourage you to share school messages and entertain practical activities to ensure young generation re-tell stories of special places, plants and animals.”
National Facilitator DSCP project- Chelcia Gomes then highlights that as part of the campaign art & writing is also useful as well is a powerful medium means of expressing views and ideas.
In the meanwhile, the GEF Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project is coordinated and implemented by the National Facilitating Committee (NFC) through the Solomon Islands Community Conservation Partnership (SICCP), CM2, and World Fish.
The scope of work involves dugong and seagrass monitoring, conducting nationwide Dugong and Seagrass awareness and drafting of policy recommendations and a National Strategy for the conservation and management of dugong and seagrass for Solomon Islands.
In relation to, the GEF Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project supports partner countries to conserve seagrass ecosystems through a combination of science and research, conservation policy development and implementation, community incentives, as well as outreach and education programmes.
More than 26 partners and 38 projects across eight countries (Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mozambique, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, and Vanuatu) result into national development plans to conserve dugong and seagrass habitats.
The Project is executed by the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (MbZSCF), with financing from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), implementation support by United Nations Environmental Programme and technical support from the Convention on Migratory Species Dugong MoU Secretariat.