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Committee raises concerns

Luke Rawalai
Tuesday, November 28, 2017

PROVINCIAL offices were more concerned with development projects and were spending less time talking about the repercussions of such activities with the vanua.

This was one of the concerns raised by Yaubula Management Committee representatives within the 14 provinces, including the need for non-governmental organisations to follow proper protocols when implementing projects in village settings.

Speaking in an interview during the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Areas annual general meeting last Friday, committee executive Margaret Tabunakawai said these were two issues they would raise with the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs.

"Some of us are very fond of bringing projects to the provincial offices and that's one of the biggest concerns this week (last week)," she said.

"As a trustee of the vanua, conservation officers feel that provincial offices should play a role in advising the vanua on the pros and cons of any development projects. They feel that the provincial offices should be there for them."

Speaking on concerns regarding protocols, Ms Tabunakawai said the roles of traditional leaders and their presence needed to be acknowledged and respected, saying that it was always paramount during the implementation processes of projects.

Ms Tabunakawai said FLMMA's responsibility was to ensure that traditional leaders had correct information before making a decision.

"The DNA of this network is community representatives and we ensure they are empowered to make sound decisions regarding the use of their natural resources, especially when development projects are always forthcoming," she said.

"If the leaders are not made aware or if they are not informed then projects will not work. It's the mana that comes with that position that needs to be respected and acknowledged for projects to be successful."

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