Pacific Islands Community Co-Adaptive Management Course Revitalised

7 April 2015

The Pacific Islands Community Co-adaptive management Course (PICCC) is an effective capacity development initiative for Pacific Island biodiversity conservation practitioners. Run several times since 2000, the course has been revitalized in 2015 by key partners, the Institute of Applied Science (IAS) of USP, the LMMA Network, SPREP, BIOPAMA and MACBIO, along with other regional partners. Their concrete efforts aim at reviving, updating, and consolidating the course over a five year period (2015-2019).

The Pacific Islands are dispersed over a third of the globe and represent an extremely rich marine biological and habitat diversity, matched by remarkable diversity of its people’s cultures.  However this diversity presents many challenges to resource managers. Until recently, this represented a significant capacity building challenge as most modern expertise and information is not tailored for the Pacific islands setting where in most cases communities are customary owners of the land.

Initiated in 2000, the PICCC was developed to address this shortfall and to create a course specifically tailored for Pacific needs and is based largely on many of the lessons and principles relating to Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs). Since 2000, the course has trained more than 120 participants from 16 Pacific Island countries and territories, including community leaders, most government environment and many marine and fisheries departments, and international and most national conservation NGOs.

The PICCC is a vocational course that provides participants with skills, information, and experience in community-based adaptive management for protected areas and conservation. It is delivered in three phases:  face-to-face learning at the USP and field sites, applying learning back in the workplace or community, and then returning to USP to reflect on and share experiences. The 2015 edition of the course follows this structure, with the first phase taking place at the University of the South Pacific (USP), Suva, Fiji, from 17 March to 13 April 2015.

Important ingredients for the success of this course are the contributions of  partners in providing in-kind support by giving their time and enthusiasm to present classes, conduct field trips, share experiences, and support alumni networks.  The key partners of the course are commited to revive, update, and consolidate a ”new” PICCC over a 5 year period (2015 – 2019) in which at least 3 Pacific regional and at least 2 sub-regional or tailored courses will be provided.

This approach is strongly supported in a regional capacity development action plan currently in finalisation stages through the BIOPAMA programme. It will require collective support, promotion, and recurrent financial commitment by various governments, regional institutions, NGOs, and other sponsors. Regional initiatives such as the Protected Areas Working Group of the Pacific Islands Round Table for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas will be a key agent in this ambition.

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