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Wetlands, human health and food security in Pacific Islands

The overall goal of this project is development and donor agencies have policies and practices that fully recognise the interrelationships between wetlands, and human health and food security.

Project Description:

From global to local scales there is a lack of integration of the health and environment sectors in IWRM funding, policy and planning. Specifically, there is lack of co-ordination and applied understanding between those agencies addressing MDG goals 1 (poverty & hunger) & 7 (environmental sustainability). In the Pacific Islands, the synergy of these sectors is particularly relevant to the management of water borne diseases in populations adjacent to island river basins and to the security of food resources from coral reefs for coastal human populations.

There is a pressing need for evidence-based case studies that will facilitate dialogue and shared vision building between the major regional health, environmental and development agencies. In this demonstration project we are building on past and ongoing initiatives in Fiji (Ecosystem Based Management Project) and Papua New Guinea (Locally Managed Marine Area Network) to ascertain the links between particular aspects of human health and the ecological integrity of these two major wetland types. Major stakeholders in both countries will include World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization, South Pacific Regional Environment Program, United Nations Development Program, International Conservation NGOs and national health and environment-related agencies. Currently the programs of action for these agencies remain widely separated although spheres of work could be more efficiently and jointly managed in areas of clear overlap and influence. This project will help to pinpoint these areas of overlap and create greater integration between the health and environment agencies.

The specific project objectives are 1. To produce case studies on the interrelationships between ecological integrity and human health in selected major wetland types of the Pacific Islands region. and 2. To establish an ongoing dialogue within and between health and development agencies on the interrelationships between the ecological integrity of wetlands and human health.

Project Partners:

Activities in Fiji will be implemented in partnership with other funded activities of WCS, WWF-Fiji and the Fiji Environment, Forestry, Fisheries and Health Departments. Anticipated private sector engagement in Fiji will be with Fiji Water, Fiji Hardwood Corporation and local tourism operators.

Activities in PNG will be implemented in partnership with WWF - PNG, and PNG Health, and the Environment Department. In Papua New Guinea private sector engagement will primarily involve local dive tourism, with which some working relationships have previously been established, and commercial fishing operations.

Water snowflake, a common wetland plant in Australia

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