The Talanoa ni Yaubula’ Symposium, is a critical platform for advancing environmental stewardship and sustainable development in the indigenous Lauan communities, which started at the Grand Pacific Hotel, this morning.
Speaking at the event, Assistant Minister for i-Taukei Affairs Ratu Isikeli Tuiwailevu praised the Yasana o Lau for its dedication to conservation and cultural preservation.
Tuiwailevu said the traditional leaders of the Yasana o Lau, together with their communities, have continued to show remarkable commitment not only to environmental protection but also to revitalizing social and cultural values, integral to the identity and heritage of our community.
The one-day symposium symbolizes the significant step in fostering dialogue around conservation in the province.
Central to the event is the Lau Seascape Initiative, steered by the Bose Vanua o Lau, exemplifying a strategic approach to conserving natural resources and ensuring their sustainability for future generations.
This initiative reflects a blend of Indigenous wisdom and high-level leadership.
Emphasizing the wider implications of the symposium, Tuiwailevu highlighted its role in setting a refreshed strategic direction promoted by i-Taukei Affairs institutions.
“This approach aims to enhance good governance, minimize vulnerabilities, and facilitate i-Taukei communities’ effective participation in economic activities,” he said.
Also, Vice President Pacific Region Conservation International, Susana Tuisese highlighted that this is the first symposium for Lau, where the symposium’s significance is being conducted in the i-Taukei language.
Tuisese said the aim is to share the rich biodiversity of the Lau Province and raise awareness about sustainable utilization and management of these resources.
She said the goal for today’s talanoa to foster a better understanding and collaborative effort in implementing the Lau Seascape Strategy.
The event brought together a diverse group of stakeholders, including traditional leaders, government representatives, NGOs, Yaubula management practitioners, academics, and the private sector.
Discussions focused on integrating the Lau Seascape Initiative’s objectives with national conservation commitments and governance frameworks.
However, the Assistant Minister has emphasized on the Lau Seascape Initiative’s holistic strategy, which merges cultural leadership with various developmental approaches and partnerships.
Tuiwailevu said there is much enthusiasm for the ongoing implementation of the Lau Seascape Strategy, particularly its role in shaping Fiji’s national plans to achieve Sustainable Development Goals and the 30 X 30 National Marine Protection goals.
The event served as a proof of commitment of the chiefs of Lau and their communities, not only to environmental preservation, but also to harness social and cultural values to restore culture and heritage.