Government supporting communities in PNG to set up heat-tolerant coral nurseries
through the Climate Resilient by Nature (CRxN) program
The CRxN Challenge Fund supported climate change adaptation workshop in Fiji this year was an amazing opportunity for marine scientists from Fiji, PNG and Samoa to immerse themselves in a unique climate adaptation approach and expand their working knowledge of coral reef restoration. The workshop was facilitated by Corals for Conservation and focused on the identification and propagation of thermotolerant corals. In attendance were 19 high-capacity participants representing key government agencies, NGOs, universities and communities of PNG, Samoa and Fiji. Experience levels varied, with Samoan and Fijian participants enjoying previous coral restoration experience but for some of the PNG team, this was the start of their coral journey. The workshop strengthened the participants’ climate change adaptation knowledge and skills and also helped build the capacity of their organisations and, in PNG’s case, strengthened government programs and revitalised important projects.
For the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) team from PNG, the workshop helped rejuvenate their coral reef restoration program. Chris Molai, a project officer with the Fisheries Management Unit, explained that the workshop was invaluable for providing ‘a new approach in our coral program, especially dealing with heat resistant corals and, importantly, addressing climate change issues.’ The successful completion of the workshop aided the NFA team in accessing project funding to recommence coral restoration work in Port Moresby. The project has a budget for the implementation of test nurseries, that will contribute to activities at the planned longer term restoration sites at Motopore Island to be supported with now released NFA funding. The Port Moresby-based PNG team leading implementation formed as a direct result of the Fiji workshop and consists of participants from NFA, the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) and Kyeema’s own coral gardener, Kevin Egu. Now that funding is available and partnerships are forming, Mr Molai and the team are excited to ‘learn from these experiences and then modify and scale the work.’
Chris Molai, National Fisheries Authority (NFA)
Corals For Conservation’s workshop provided important knowledge and skills, facilitated an environment for developing strong relationships and created excitement and momentum which we are seeing on the participants’ return. We are delighted with the progress so far and though this is only the beginning, we are looking towards a long-term approach to improve the climate change adaptation capacity of the Pacific. With the support of the Climate Resilient by Nature (CrxN) project and the quality and drive from our Pacific participants, a robust model for this critical work is emerging and we are excited to see it spread throughout the region.
Gadi Wutnalom, Conservation and Environment Protection Agency (CEPA)
Mildred Kelokelo, University of Newcastle
Matilda Pahina, National Fisheries Authority (NFA)
Kevin Egu, Kyeema Foundation
This project is supported by Climate Resilient by Nature (CRxN), an Australian Government initiative in partnership with WWF-Australia. CRxN supports nature-based solutions that restore and protect critical ecosystems, build sustainable livelihoods, and increase resilience to climate shocks.