Knowledge Transfer to Empower: An Endless Commitment to Sustainability

September 12, 2023
The FNC Training with local communities in Fiji

The FNC Training with local communities in Fiji

As the world marks the UN Day for South-South Cooperation on 12 September 2023, UNDP recalled its commitment to accelerate and empower nations in the global south through its key development plans. One of which was through the practice of knowledge sharing, manifested through its key programmes and strategies to create lasting change and sustainable outcomes. This practice directly impacted the communities.

One of the highlights in the Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) Forum’s works is the effort to provide innovative solutions to combat challenges AIS countries face. Established as a developmental initiative focusing on concrete actions to tackle marine-related issues, the AIS Forum prioritized grassroots approach as a mean of knowledge transfer. The AIS Forum ensured the solutions provided to be relevant and sustainable by engaging with local leaders, organizations, and community members.

Fiji and Madagascar, as part of AIS countries, have faced several challenges on the sustainable practice in the marine industries. In Fiji, fish farming methods or aquaculture was not popular among the local communities. Located in the southern belt of the Pacific Ocean, a sustainable aquaculture practice would be a huge advantage for the local communities to cultivate small to medium-scale fish farming. Meanwhile Madagascar’s top-notch shrimp farming must balance between its sustainable practice and the production.

Therefore, in Fiji, the AIS Forum organised a training on implementing Floating Net Cage (FNC), the first of its kind in the South Pacific region, for the local community in Bau Island. Through the training, local communities learnt innovative methods and techniques for marine and fisheries environment and practiced sustainable aquaculture based on a traditional farming system through the technique showcased.

The AIS Forum also facilitated the technology transfer of the marine-monitoring equipment, Advanced Drifter GPS Oceanography Coverage Area (ARHEA) and Manta One (Electric Propulsion Engine) to two institutions. The project was successful through collaboration with academia from the Philippines and Indonesia, whilst MantaOne won the AIS Innovation Challenge in 2023. Located on the east coast of Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu, Bau Island faced a problem with the slow development of aquaculture that constrains the domestic food supply.

Ratu Epenisa Seru Cakobau, the Vunivalu (chief of the people) of Bau Island, said, “I hope that this training can also boost the development of fish farming business here and trigger the economic independence for the people in Bau Island.”

In Madagascar, the AIS Forum also brought start-ups from Indonesia, JALA, to introduce technologies on sustainable farming for communities. JALA provided technology for shrimp farmers to monitor their production and improve the sustainability of their farming. By using the technology developed by JALA, shrimp farmers could monitor their shrimp farm such as assessing the water conditions and nursing techniques. By doing so, they can analyse the data to find a more appropriate way to scale up the farming.

Yvette Sylla, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Madagascar during her remarks at the 8th Senior Official Meeting, commended the effort of The AIS Forum in the ongoing works in providing smart and innovative solutions for AIS countries, “As an example, I mention the training of marine tour guides in Sainte-Marie and the introduction of the Indonesian JALA technology, provided to the Institute of Halieutic and Marine Sciences in Toliara. We are grateful for these endeavours,” she said.

Signing ceremony for technology transfer during the 7th Senior Official Meeting in Suva, Fiji

Signing ceremony for technology transfer during the 7th Senior Official Meeting in Suva, Fiji

Norimasa Shimomura, Resident Representative UNDP Indonesia, also stressed out the importance of cooperation during the 7th Senior Official Meeting in Suva, Fiji, last June. He said, “UNDP is committed to and firmly believes that investing in the ocean is an investment for our future. We reaffirm our commitment to supporting the work of the AIS Forum Secretariat to promote the development and capacity-building of AIS countries through its project activities."

In Indonesia, the AIS Forum has consistently been at the forefront of this effort. Established in 2018 with the support of the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Republic of Indonesia, the AIS Forum comprises 51 archipelagic and island states worldwide. These countries gather in this collective forum to address the challenges of ocean resource usage for sustainable economic growth, climate change resiliency, ocean pollution, emergency management, and the enhancement of sustainable fisheries.

Written by Thomas Benmetan

Edited by Enggi Dewanti