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Conservation project launched

South Bougainville MP and Deputy Opposition Leader, Timothy Masiu this week launched the Kainake conservation project whose objective is to conserve animal species on Bougainville that are becoming extinct.

Left to right: Regional Member for Bougainville Mr. Joseph Lera, Dr. Jeffrey Noro, Mr. Rui Flores representing UNDP and South Bougainville and Opposition Leader MP Hon Timothy Masiu

The two-phased launching was held at the project site at Kainake village in Siwai, South Bougainville last Wednesday, signified by the signing of two memorandum of understanding (MOU) and the opening of a resource centre that was jointly funded by the UNDP and South Bougainville MP and dedicated to the late Joseph Noro, father of the Kainake project principal, Dr Geffrey Noro. Stakeholders including the UNDP, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Australia government and community representatives from other conservation areas in North and Central Bougainville witnessed the launching. The MOUs were signed between the project management and landowners of conservation areas from Wisai in the Buin district and Kainake landowners.

Wisai Chief John Masiu leading his community for signing of the MOU with The Kainake Project

Wisai landowners led by chief John Masiu said a customary flavour to the ceremony when they presented a live pig and K300 in cash to project director, Dr Geffrey Noro as well as gifts to chiefs of Kainake as symbol of a strong relationship between the Kainake project and the Wisai people in their joint efforts to conserve nature.

Addressing the small crowd of stakeholders and conservation sites landowners, MP Mr Timothy Masiu, who is also the patron of the Kainake project, said he was proud of the project because it was an intervention that will conserve nature for the benefit of future generations. “It will research the preservation and conservation of animals and nature that are facing extinction for the benefit of future generations,” Mr Masiu said.

He said authorities should take a balanced approach to development by ensuring that conservation runs parallel to other development in a holistic approach. A happy Mr Masiu said Bougainville has many untold stories in its natural environment and the launching of the Kainake conservation project will ensure those stories are told.

Being the brainchild of Dr Noro, who comes from Kainake village, the project which has already received international recognition, will research and conserve endangered animal species one which includes the monkey-faced mountain bats in South Bougainville. While Wisai is already affiliated to the project, moves are underway to include Pokpok Island in Kieta district as a marine conservation area and Rotokas in Wakunai. Representatives from both areas attended the launching ceremony.

Members of the project and representatives from communities in Bougainville

According to Dr Noro, the Kainake conservation project will become the umbrella management organisation to manage the establishment and operation of the conservation areas.

Acknowledging the customary ritual performed by chief John Masiu and the Wisai community, Dr Noro said he was humbled by this gesture that will build lasting relationship between the two communities of Kainake and Wisai.

Mr Masiu said the ceremony may be small, but was significant because the project will establish and building relationships for the future. He said he welcomed the project in 2016 because of the holistic nature of the project. It is also building relationships and unity among the people and communities, Mr Masiu added. “We must conserve Bougainville because it is our future, that is why I am committed and became part of the project,” Mr Masiu declared.

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