Building on the many years of conservation work in the Solomons, the CBC is now focused on strengthening local and national conservation leadership and policy. Over the summer we worked with the Solomon Islands’ government to facilitate the implementation of existing protected area laws. In May 2016, we convened and supported meetings in Honiara that brought together the private and public sector, including government officials, scientists, and conservation practitioners to develop an action plan for establishing some of the first protected areas since the Protected Areas Act was established in 2012.
This is of great significance for multiple biodiverse terrestrial and marine hotspots that face critical threats from mining and logging. A cabinet brief from the meeting proposes strengthening Section 24 of the Protected Area Act, which stipulates that no development shall occur in land over 400 meters in elevation, so that the Forest Commissioner can declare any area above 400 meters as a Forestry Reserve. Building on the momentum from the Guadalcanal expedition and with support from the Ministry of Forestry, the Tina River Hydro Development Project has now applied to establish a Forestry Reserve in the catchment surveyed by the CBC and partners.
Our local partner, the Solomon Islands Community Conservation Partnership (SICCP), has played a key role in these and several regional events, as well as in supporting local monitoring. With our support, the SICCP is finalizing its 2016-2018 Strategic Plan.