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Sustaining Pacific communities through traditional Pacific values

The need to look to traditional values for a sustainable community was highlighted during the inaugural Pacific Resilience Meeting (PRM) in Suva, Fiji today.

Mr Simione Saveudredre of the Ministry of Itaukei Affairs of the Government of Fiji was one of the five speakers that shared their stories of Pacific resilience during the Ignite session of the PRM.

“When we are talking about the world view, there is a world we can look through that begins to reveal how our ancestors view the world, conceptualise it and pass on the body of knowledge, empirical and traditional knowledge for the sustaining of communities,” said Mr Saveudredre.

“Sustaining in terms of kingship in our livelihood from either the land or the sea.”

Mr Saveudredre spoke of a project in 2016 in Beqa Island, Fiji helping to bring about a successful sustainable community through practicing traditional values.  The project revitalised the use of a fishing net called lawa buinigone (Grandmas net) which is the size of a netball court.

“The net was initiated by the hands of the Head of the fishing clan in the village and was submitted to the Chief of the village where he commissioned it.”

According to Mr Saveudredre this fishing net caught the right sized fish which led to economic benefits and honoured the Chief, an example of how a traditional governance and honorary system embedded a traditional rule which has helped sustain the community.

The fish caught from this net is shared with the community first, with the surplus sold in Suva.

“As of today the community has managed to build the new village hall, new nurse’s quarters and medical centre, a new church, created a scholarship for the local primary school education and sustained village needs and controlled development without any outside aid.”

“This one successful story out of many, not only helps social cohesion and sustainability, it also helps the youth see the importance of our ocean so that they will not do anything to harm the ocean but to look after it.”

Mr Saveudredre said there is merit and value in looking to the past and what was established before the new.

“The boat sinks despite the presence of bailers, by extension solutions are around us yet we are blind to it. It’s about time we looked at what worked for three to four millennia and use it appropriately.”

That was part of the opening session on Day One of the Pacific Resilience Partnership PRP Meeting.

Around 300 people are attending the meeting, including government officials, non-government representatives, partners and donor agencies.

The meeting continues today and will end on Friday.

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