Thursday, November 11, 2010
Makata's Brief Background
The Mas Kagin Tapani group (henceforth Makata) is a new initiative, formed by pro-environmental justice individuals, indigenous tribal peoples whose beaches the sea turtles visit to nest, community facilitators, advisory board and volunteers of the Sea Turtle Restoration Project in the Western Pacific region in 2009.
Mas Kagin Tapani means Sea Guardians in the local Bel or Takia languages in the Madang Province, Papua New Guinea(PNG). Makata is a new and exciting organization established to formally recognise what we have been doing since June 2006 to protect and restore the declining population of the critically endangered leatherback turtles or (Dermochelys Coriacea). It is also aimed at supporting our campaigns made to stop sea bed mining and sea tailings disposal in the Bismarck Solomon Seas.
The establishment of Makata emanates from the need to sustain the Sea Turtle Restoration Project (STRP) in the Western Pacific region from the Turtle Island Restoration Network based in California USA as a local NGO.
We aim to continue our current programs in working with coastal and island communities in the Bismarck Solomon Seas to restore and protect the critically endangered leatherback turtles, other endangered marine turtles and incorporate new goals and objectives based on community needs.
This initiative was initially started in June 2006 by the Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN), a nonprofit organization incorporated in California with the aim to manage its Western Pacific’s sea turtle population. TIRN's support ended in December 2009.
This initiative has seen the communities of Karkum, Mirap, Tokain, Magubem and Kimadi in the north coast area of Madang and villages along the south coast of Madang have shown keen interest in protecting and restoring their turtle population. Villagers in the outer islands have also expressed concerns on the sea bed mining venture by Nautilus and partners as well as the dumping of waste into the sea by the operator of the nickel and cobalt mine at Basamuk bay also in Madang province, and have supported our actions to campaign against irresponsible mining and large scale industrial developments whilst calling on them to take heed of their social responsibility and environmental justice obligations.
There are other environmental, economic, cultural and social issues surrounding other developments that have and will continue to impact the marine biodiversity, marine habitat and the livelihood of those who depend on it that demands representation both at the local, national and international level so that the voice of these voiceless and in most cases less fortunate, indigenous tribal peoples are heard.
But in order for us to represent these marginalized group of people our group needs logistical support, resources, funding and effective partnership with like-minded individuals, philanthropists, and organizations to make sure our efforts bear fruit through education, empowerment, and entrepreneurship. It is therefore very crucial at this point for us to secure potential funding from alternative sources to sustain our programs.
We have facilitated educational awareness programs, media campaigns, community development trainings, resource mapping, boundary surveys and assisted communities of Karkum, Mirap, Yadigam, Tokain, Magubem, and Kimadi in the north coast. With funding support we intend to extend these services to Mur, Baru, Sel and other villages in Rai coast of Madang to establish their locally managed marine areas (LMMAs). (See Project Map ). These campaign initiatives were aimed at establishing LMMAs using Conservation Deeds.
This initiative has seen Karkum village celebrated the launching of its Conservation Deed in 2008 after two years of campaign efforts by our team of volunteers and community facilitators. (See Karkum Conservation Deed) and See Media Article in in (www.seaturtles.org under campaigns).
We believe that an informed and educated community will take active roles and be prudent guardians of their resources.
We need funding to continue our patrols to Mirap, Yadigam, Tokain, Magubem and Kimadi with the aim of enabling these communities to establish their LMMAs using conservation deeds. These villages are now in the process of establishing conservation deeds through which they promise to protect sea turtles and their resources for 5 years.
We will continue trainings on other development and environmental issues affecting communities in order to motivate them to protect and use their resources to improve their lives.
These communities have so far been able to protect turtles that have come to nest on their beaches since we initiated the sea turtle restoration project. With funding support from TIRN, we were also able to conduct a turtle training in 2009. The communities we work with have asked us to conduct further trainings on turtles and marine eco-systems, community based capacity building exercises and cottage industry entrepreneurial skills . In order to fulfill these requests we need additional funding.
Our training exercises aim to give resource owners basic skills to tag and monitor the turtles and keep a record of the turtles that come to nest on their beaches. It also enables them to tap into spin-off economic enterprises that will enable them to improve their living standard.
One positive story resulting from our project is that of the Karkum community. With the basic skills acquired from our ongoing capacity building exercises, Karkum villagers have started conducting turtle tagging and monitoring exercises since 2009. In 2010 they have supplied data to the South Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) and have benefited from local and international tourists. World Bank, PNG has also donated library books to them after reading about their initiative to protect and restore the turtle population. The Australian High Commissioner to PNG, Mr Ian Kemish has also visited the community and supported them with a substantial financial aid. The villagers at Dibor have also been fortunate to receive donation of library books from Cathy Edmund's and her reading club from the Port Moresby International School.
We will continue to be responsible for the successful transformation of the mindset and attitude of villagers towards preserving the leatherback turtle species and all other species that face the threat of extinction in the Bismarck Solomon Seas.
We plan to extend to Rai Coast, Bogia, Karkar, Bagabag and Long Islands in Madang depending on funding support from donor agencies and through its own fund raising drives. We also recognize huge leatherback nesting sites in South New Britain and in Bougainville and have expressed interest to extend our programs there if invited by resource owners.
In addition to the turtle conservation efforts, we continue to assist coastal communities in the region to address the issue of sea bed mining and sea tailing disposals, over harvesting of tuna species, address climate change issues and all other related issues. We have helped sponsored a full page advertisement for the Bagabag Islanders in opposing sea bed mining and will continue to do so for other indigenous tribal peoples seeking our assistance.
We will continue to use the media to support the fight for these indigenous tribal communities and to amplify their concerns to speak out on these issues.
It is our aim to give opportunity to the indigenous peoples along the coastline and islands of Bismarck Solomon Seas to protect and restore the declining turtle populations especially that of the critically endangered leatherback turtles, and to address all other issues affecting their lives and their marine resources. We see the plight of these species not only as single species environmental tragedies that need immediate attention, but as a vehicle for shifting the paradigm of how the human species views its relationships with the natural world.
While a key part of our work is to protect sea turtles, we grapple with root causes of threats to their existence, which often leads us to address global and community issues beyond the turtles themselves.
We intend to provide a direct voice to a growing population of the indigenous people across the region who have shared concerns relevant to their customary connections to the Bismarck Solomon Seas.
Our organisation is served by a seven-member Board of Directors and will invite interested individuals to apply to serve on our board.
We take this opportunity to also thank all our funders and the communities we represent to support this cause including WWF-Melanesia whose aid has assisted us to establish our organization and conduct a social mapping exercise for Rai coast in the Madang Province to determine the potential of extending its activities in that area. We have also received support from partner international, regional and local NGOs and government institutions including SPREP and Global Greengrants Funds (GGF).
Our campaigns highlight the root causes of environmental destruction, which often begin with lack of community control over resources and the inequitable distribution of power.
We seek donor funding to sustain our programs.
The Mas Kagin Tapani Association has a Cheque Account with the Bank of South Pacific Waigani Branch. It’s Account
Number is 1001546953. It’s SWIFT Code is BOSPPGPM. Mas Kagin Tapani’s Internal Revenue Commission’s Tax File
Number is: TC 8662
For further information please contact Wenceslaus Magun on: 719 59665 or
Address: P.O. Box 1312, Port Moresby, National Capital District, Papua New Guinea.