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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Community Biological Monitoring Training Report


POB 1312, Port Moresby, National Capital District, PNG
Ph. + (675) 71959665 •
CBM Training, 
24th to 31st March 2015,
Roinji, Wasu LLG, Lae, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea

By Miriam Giru, Adolphina Luvongit and Wenceslaus Magun

Fig 1. Twenty one certified local coastal marine monitors from Roinji and
 Singorokai posing for their group photo with (Far left standing at the 
back Daniel Solomon Okena TKCP-PNG, Front left kneeling 
Wenceslaus Magun, MAKATA and far right standing Karau Kuna TKCP-PNG 
and Miriam Giru, Para-Marine Biologist, MAKATA.


There’s a traditional Jewish story that goes like this: “Imagine you are busy planting a tree, and someone rushes up to say that the Messiah has come and the end of the world is nigh.  What would you do?” According to this story the rabbi’s advice is: “You first finish planting the tree and only then do you go and see whether the news is true.”
The tension between doing something positive today to “plant a tree” or do nothing at all remains a sad reality. 
The race to extract renewable and non-renewable resources in the name of achieving healthy, wealthy, friendly, safe, and prosperous nations through improved social, infrastructure and economic services continues unabated.
Smart and cunning tactics used through pretence of false development and raising high hopes and expectations at the ignorance of the resource owners, or by penetrating through economically impoverished and corrupt governments through bribery and corruption or aid to extract both renewable and non renewable resources, for agro-industries, subsequently leaving huge scars, and gaping holes on landscapes, polluted air, rivers and seascapes, humans have tipped the scale of contributing towards destroying Earth. 
Industrial activities approved without due diligent checks and balances on environmental impact assessments and environmental management plans by responsible and independent assesses or auditors in each State allowing corporate entities to operate until even their most brilliant super “flawless” technology fails leads to another catastrophic oil, cyanide spill, air pollution, nuclear waste disaster or similar problems adds fuel to the fire. 
Institutions, individuals or end users of products that acquire resources from indigenous tribal communities without prior informed consent resulting in inequitable benefit sharing may also have negative footprints on the environment.
In addition, irresponsible consumer actions and bad social behaviours by people from all walks of life, creed, and race world over in this age and time continue to see increase in global warming. 
Rather than being complacent at this ongoing vicious cycle of mess, before it’s too little too late, few individuals, organisations, local communities and corporations have joined the race and sometimes quite risky to ensure that positive steps are taken to save planet Earth through some form of sustainable resource management services. 
Beginning  in 1996 and the years that followed on, individuals like Zachary Wells, Dr Lisa Dabek, Karau Kuna, Benjamin Sipa,  Tingke Dope, Ruby Yamuna, Danny Samandingke, Mikal Nolan, James Sabi, Benside Thomas, Dr Bruce Beehler,  Daniel Solomon Okena and others took steps to save one of Papua New Guinea’s (PNGs) remaining endemic endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei ). 
Their efforts through the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP) led to the establishment of a local NGO with an office established in Lae under TKCP-PNG.
With support from Woodlark Park Zoo, Conservation International, the German Government, James Cook University, and the local communities, TKCP-PNG has seen the development, establishment and ongoing management of an internationally recognised and gazetted “YUS Conservation Area (CA)” landscape.
What does “YUS” mean?  “YUS” is used to refer to the spatial area covered by the extent of TKCP’s landscape program. What is the scope of the Landuse Plan (LP)? It is the outer boundaries of clan land of the people living within the Yopno, Uruwa and Some River catchments (which transcend LLG, district and provincial administration boundaries) and extending down to the Bismarck Sea in Wasu Local Level Government (LLG), and also into small parts of Deyamos, Rai Coast, and Wantoat-Leron LLGs. (YUS Landscape Plan, 2013-2015).
According to the YUS Landscape Plan 2013-2015, the gazetted “YUS CA” covers an area of 78,729ha, making it one of the largest CA in PNG.  Furthermore, TKCP-PNG is also one of the first NGO to actually apply the principle of “Ridges to Reefs” concept in PNG to achieve its conservation outcomes.  
TKCP-PNG’s conservation and research program is further complemented with livelihood programs.
To ensure that the Ridges to Reef principle actually materializes and is sustained, TKCP-PNG is assisting local communities’ in Roinji and Singorokai and the neighbouring villages along the coast in the Wasu LLG to establish their Marine Protected Areas.  For a well-managed marine resource management and monitoring program to be established and sustained, TKCP-PNG has engaged a Marine Specialist, Job Opu and Mas Kagin Tapani (MAKATA) to pursue this initiative.
The YUS CA contributes towards achieving PNG’s Protected Area target in fulfilling its obligation to meet the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Objective of achieving 17% of terrestrial protected areas and 10% of marine protected areas by 2020.
These efforts by TKCP-PNG deserve recognition and support by all stakeholders especially the State and its lined agencies and provincial authorities. 
Further details of the YUS Landscape plan can be obtained from the YUS Landscape Plan 2013-2015 document and from the Marine Program reports compiled by Mr. Opu.


The core business of this workshop is to build the capacity of the workshop participants to assist their coastal community marine rangers to monitor their marine resources as volunteers without creating any false expectations for them to be employed or to be compensated in anyway by TKCP-PNG or any other partners.
This report covers plenary sessions, group break out activities, and practical exercises on Marine Monitoring training.
Twenty One (21) participants had attended this workshop. The workshop was held at Roinji village from Tuesday 24th of March to Monday 31st of March 2015. 
This workshop also aims to support the work the Marine Specialist, Job Opu has done as documented in his reports from his community visits to Roinji and Singorokai in 2014.
We revised the topics that Mr. Opu covered to draw the participants’ attention to link what he has done or plan to do and our training towards fulfilling TKCP-PNG’s overall objective for local coastal communities’ Landuse plans.
Lessons on the Marine Environment, Food Web, Coral Biology, Seagrass, Invertebrates, Vertebrates and Mangroves were covered but not in detail due to time constrains.  In this report, we have however covered these topics in some detail for the benefit of the communities of Roinji and Singorokai. 
Furthermore we did not run the turtle training in this workshop due to time factor.  We note however that Mr. Opu did cover the topic on different marine turtle species which is documented in his “Marine Program – YUS Conservation Area” report. 
Turtle monitoring and tagging exercise needs to be done if the local communities want to fulfil their management plan to save and restore the populations of the endangered and critically endangered sea turtles that come to nest in Roinji and Singorokai nesting beaches.
After successfully completing the seven (7) days of theoretical and practical sessions the participants graduated with a Certificate each certifying them to be local coastal community marine monitors for Roinji and Singorokai.  Their Certificates were counter signed by Miriam Giru, the Para-marine biologist for MAKATA, Wenceslaus Magun, MAKATA’s director and Kuna Kurau, TKCP-PNG’s Conservation Strategies Manager.
The workshop was jointly funded by the TKCP-PNG, Global Environment Facility (GEF), UNDP-SGP, and MAKATA with support from the National Fisheries Authority and the local communities of Roinji and Singorokai. 
The training was conducted under a makeshift shelter built out of bamboo poles, with bamboo braces, and bamboo rafters.  The side walls were fenced with coconut palms and a blue canvas wrapped around it to prevent sunlight coming into the school area.  The roof was made up of flat sheets of corrugated roofing sheets spread across the length and width of the entire building. 
Participants sat on the ground or on makeshift chairs and other objects throughout most of the sessions, whilst the facilitators (Miriam Giru, and Wenceslaus Magun) delivered plenary sessions using flipcharts, and assorted permanent markers.  The sessions also covered two video shows.  For some practical sessions, the participants were divided into Roinji and Singorokai groups.  For the other practical sessions, they combined to learn, share and participate as a team with the assistance of our facilitators.  Both Daniel Solomon Okena , (TKCP-PNG Research & Monitoring Coordinator) and Kuna Karau, (TKCP-PNG Conservation Strategies Manager) were occasionally invited to help in the sessions.
The Singorokai participants travelled by boat to Roinji for the workshop and returned home after the graduation.
Participants learned about the Marine Environment, Marine Food Web, Coral Biology, Objectives, and Marine Monitoring.  Flyers on Vertebrates, Invertebrates, Lobsters, Prawn fish and posters on Tuna, Sharks, accompanied by pocket size water proof booklets on Sea Cucumber were also used in the Sessions and later distributed to the participants, their rangers and to TKCP-PNG.   Despite frequent disturbances caused by the generator failure, or late attendance from the participants for some classes due to the late preparation of our meals, the final outcome of the training was very positive and rewarding.
The hands-on exercises on how to build the one meter T-transect using 14inches pvc pipes and to do dummy marine monitoring exercises on land with 100 meters and the use of 50 meter tapes to measure reefs, clams and fish (vertebrates and invertebrates) and the use of water proof data sheets stuck to A4 size shower boards built for this training was all the more thrilling and mind captivating.  Another fun-filled practical session was when participants were introduced to the use of fins and snorkels to prepare them for the actual marine monitoring exercise which they undertook later in the training.
After the actual marine monitoring survey, the participants’ representatives communicated the information to the audience.  They did that during their graduation ceremony by translating the raw data they had gathered at the Sum closed reef and the Lemia open reef at Roinji into graphs illustrated on their flip charts. The activity involved calculating the raw data gathered and translating that into graphs using simple mathematical formulas. 
Information gathered and presented to the audience by the participants reflects the positive outcome of this workshop. 
We left Roinji on Tuesday 1st of April, 2015 confident that the participants can use the knowledge and skills gained in this workshop to monitor their marine resources and to empower their local communities to take appropriate steps to manage and sustainably use their marine resources.