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South Bougainville MP Mr. Timothy Masiu supports science and conservation

The Honorable Member for South Bougainville and Deputy Opposition Leader Mr. Timothy Masiu provided financial support worth K100,000 to the Kainake Project (TKP), a community based organization based on Bougainville. The funding will support the development of a community led conservation project in the Wisai area of South Bougainville through a partnership arrangement between TKP and the Wisai community. The financial support will also counter-fund a community resource centre that is currently being constructed in Siwai district, South Bougainville, through a grant from the United Nations Development Program-Global Environment Facility (UNDP-GEF) Small Grants Program. The resource centre will be jointly opened by a UNDP representative and Hon Timothy Masiu in September 2018.

Hon Timothy Masiu (middle) handing over cheque to TKP Directors

Mr. Masiu made a cheque presentation to the TKP’s Directors Dr. Jeffrey Noro and Mr. George Nosuri, in a small ceremony on the 14th of August 2018. In presenting the cheque, Mr. Masiu stated that “South Bougainville needs development in the form of roads, agricultural investments and other industries to grow our economy. And that comes with environmental costs. Therefore, it is important that any development we undertake must be managed properly so that we avoid adverse and long term environmental impacts. We must also preserve some of Bougainville’s critical ecosystems so that some of our unique biodiversity is not lost for good.”

In response Dr. Noro explained that “as an organization we are most grateful to our Honorable MP, Mr. Masiu for the financial support. We will work hard to ensure that there is return on investment. The interface of science, conservation, economics and society is important for sustainability and ensuring that communities respond to emerging challenges in a more socially and culturally sensitive manner. We therefore acknowledge and welcome our MP’s financial and political support.”

Over the last 5 years TKP has been working on community based conservation efforts with support from the Australian Museum, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and UNDP-GEF.

By conducting field research and surveys, the organization has identified small populations of endangered mammal species from the south west region of Bougainville. Bougainville is part of the Solomon island archipelago ecoregion, and has distinct and unique biodiversity compared to the other parts of Papua New Guinea. Presently, TKP is working on the research and conservation of the monkey-faced bats (Pterolopex flanneryi) and Bougainville giant tree rats (Solomys ponceleti and Solomys salebrosus) as the conservation flagship species. These mammals are endemic to Bougainville and are listed in the IUCN red-list as endangered or critically endangered species. Therefore, there is priority to raise awareness on Bougainville’s biodiversity by engaging with the communities in projects. TKP directors Dr. Noro and Mr. Nosuri stated that the biggest challenge is sustaining conservation efforts by meeting the economic needs of the community. TKP will be working with the community to explore sustainable livelihoods projects so that conservation can be seen to have gains both in ecosystem services and other tangible benefits.

The Kainake Project was first conceived in 2013 and it has been growing very organically by responding to emerging community needs in the rural areas in Bougainville. Dr. Noro explains ”the greatest motive for establishing the organization has been to translate government policies and other international goals such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals into implementable community actions that may deliver tangible outcomes. Conservation is a good starting point that can trigger a lot of other positive changes in the communities.”

Hon Timothy Masiu is the Patron for the Kainake Project.

Critical ecosystems on Bougainville that need protection

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