'Twinning' for coastal monitoring in the Pacific

The final week of January saw representatives of GEF IW Ridge to Reef projects, Government, the Pacific Community and UNSW Global Water Institute (UNSW-GWI) come together for a Twinning Workshop on CoastSnap, the community-based mobile phone coastal monitoring platform developed by Mitch Harley at the UNSW Water Research Laboratory.

Participants from Fiji, Tonga and Samoa attended the four day workshop in Suva, Fiji run by GWI’s Mitch Harley and Andrew Dansie. The workshop was generously hosted by The Pacific Community and funded under the LME:LEARN Twinning Program.

The workshop saw participants share the coastal monitoring capabilities and needs from their countries and hear about some of the coastal monitoring approaches pioneered at UNSW.

The CoastSnap monitoring approach was the focus of the workshop and the group travelled up the Coral Coast to install the first Pacific Island CoastSnap station. In partnership with the Pacific Community and with the help of all participants, the station was installed at the Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort on Yanuca Island. The partnership and generous support of the Shangri-La in embracing it into their impressive community engagement, environmental awareness, ocean monitoring and school education initiatives is of huge benefit to the CoastSnap initiative.

The workshop trained the participants to plan, install and manage their own monitoring stations on the return to their home locations, with UNSW experts available for advice and input remotely as needed. A Tongan CoastSnap station is set to be the next implemented through the Tongan Department of Environment.

The knowledge and experience gained through this workshop is being written up for the GEF IW community, and contributed to by all those present as well as Ridge to Reef (R2R) projects who were part of the original Twinning proposal but unable to attend the workshop in person. These include R2R projects in the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru and Tuvalu.

The UNSW-GWI team would like to say “Vinaka vaka levu” for all of the generous support, sharing of experience and knowledge and assistance that made this Twinning Workshop possible.

Video: The UNSW and Pacific R2R Twinning Exchange

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