Kamiali Wildlife Management Area -- Update on Papua New Guinea

16/02/2001

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Field Trip Report "Awareness on the Importance of Conservation and Management of " Kamiali Wildlife Management Area (KWMA)" Wetlands.

OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENT AND CONSERVATION

BIODIVERSITY BRANCH

Date: 19 January 2000
To: FAD – Nature Conservation Division
Cc: Manager(s) – BAB, Wetlands International, Deputy Secretary General-Ramsar Bureau, Corporate Planning, Conservation Advisor, Wetlands/Marine Officer,

From: Miriam Philip

Subject: Field Trip Report -- Awareness of the Importance of Conservation and Management of "Kamiali Wildlife Management Area (KWMA)" Wetlands.

Background

It is calculated that about 30 percent of Papua New Guinea is wetlands and most of them, including KWMA, are in their pristine condition. In order to maintain the natural state of the wetlands and to manage and use them sustainably, it is necessary to have adequate knowledge of their functions, benefits, values and threats. The values of the wetlands need to be much more widely promoted to the general public which includes people in general, government at all levels, international and regional organizations, business and education sectors.

The General Objective 3 of the Ramsar Convention’s Outreach Program 1999- 2002 Actions to Promote Communication, education and Public Awareness to Support Implementation of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran 1971), describes a range of action designed to allow the convention "to raise awareness of wetlands values and functions through out the world at all levels". As a party to the Ramsar Convention, PNG through the Office of Environment and Conservation (Ramsar Focal Point) is obliged to raise awareness at all levels, to promote and enhance wetland conservation, management and wiseuse.

In Papua New Guinea, most of the land is under customary land tenure, therefore, one of the main target groups for any awareness on conservation issues including wetland conservation and wise-use would largely involve the land owners, especially those who are responsible for managing wetlands, indigenous people and local communities as they are people who are making decisions that impact directly on wetlands. Many indigenous people and local communities associated with wetlands have great knowledge of managing these ecosystems in a sustainable way, which can be possibly shared with others. The inclusion of women and children in awareness exercise is also vital to ensure that the whole family is involved in promoting and achieving the sustainable (wise) use of wetlands.

This awareness exercise is a follow-up of the first Kamiali trip (2 – 8 Dec 2000) and was targeted at the general local people of KWMA who are stake owners of the wetland area. Refer to travel report 1.

The objectives of the Kamiali trip were to create awareness on priority target groups particularly land owners, local communities including women, youth groups and children on the importance of conservation and wise use of wetlands, increase the knowledge and to gain support in getting Kamiali WMA nominated as a Ramsar Site, revise the draft of Kamiali Ramsar Information Sheet and participate in the ongoing leatherback turtle (a note worthy fauna of the Kamiali wetlands) monitoring program.

This trip was wholly funded by Ramsar SGF. The total cost to undertake this trip was K1894.40

1. The first meeting was convened in Lae (VDT office) on the 11th January 2001, with Mr. Karol Kisokau and Mr. John Sengo of Village Development Trust (a locally based NGO) in attendance. The first draft of the Kamiali Ramsar Information Sheet was circulated to them for comments. They were also informed of the objective of the Kamiali awareness trip and OEC /Wetland International’s intention to nominate KWMA as a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar Site).

Mr. Kisokau and Mr. Sengo mentioned that there was neither major concern nor notable issue raised by the local people, in relation to the introduction of Wetland Conservation and Ramsar Convention in the last trip (2-8 Dec 2000) and encouraged the awareness exercise to be conducted as planned. Mr. Kisokau advised that Sunday, after church, would be the best time to have a good audience-when all the villagers were gathered together.

Other discussions included the tagging and data collection of the leatherback turtles and related information required by SPREP’s Regional Marine Turtle Conservation Programme (RMTCP).

The second meeting was organized with the KWMA committee members and Parabiologists at the Kamiali Training Center, Lababia. In attendance were Mr. Mburo Naru, Chairman of Kamiali Integrated Conservation Development Trust (KICDT), Mr. Gilinsu Ben, KICDP Coordinator, Mr. Levi Ambio, Biodiversity and Research Coordinator, Mr. Yain Tana, member of the KWMA committee (fig. 1). This meeting was aimed at reporting collective views of the people, by the committee on Ramsar Convention since the last visit. In this meeting it was agreed that a presentation (awareness) at the main village on Sunday would be appropriate.

2. The Awareness Exercise was conducted on Sunday at the main village. A total of about 150 people including women and children attended the meeting. Question time after the presentation was centered on the benefits of getting Kamiali nominated and eventually declared as a Ramsar Site. It was explained to them that the Ramsar Convention is basically involved in Conservation and the wise use of wetlands. For Kamiali it would strengthen the existing conservation programs/projects already in place, in terms of increased publicity, latest information and advice on wetland management, possible support for wetland projects either through the Convention’s WCF or through contacts with it’s partners/development agencies.

    The discussion ended in a good note. It was unanimously agreed by the local people to have KWMA nominated as a Ramsar Site/Wetland of International Importance. This was moved by Mr. Gilinsu Ben and seconded by Mr. Mburo Naru, Mr. Yansom Barnabus (youth representative), Mr. Peter Pen of KWMA committee and Ms Rose Naru, leader of the Kamiali Women Group.

3. Revision of basic marine survey methods and introduction to wetlands ecology was done with visits to various wetland areas including Saiya River, a potential site for crocodile monitoring, snorkeling and reef observations.

Other activities include demonstrations made by the RSO on the measurement of the circumference of the fore-flippers of the female leatherback turtles (3 turtles), a special request by SPREP (Fig.3). The data collection of the leatherback turtle monitoring was checked and sent to SPREP accordingly.

Follow up Actions (summary)

  1. Complete Final Draft of the Kamiali Ramsar Information Sheet taking comments from VDT and Senior OEC officers and compile all its components (map, appendices, endorsement from KWMA committee members)
  2. Organize for a meeting with Senior OEC Officers, make a presentation of the Kamiali Ramsar Information Sheet and move for the nomination of Kamiali to be added to the List of Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar List)
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