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Papua New Guinea

Sawasawaga

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Conservation benefit: Establishment of a 25-acre coastal conservation area

Community benefit: School buildings for the community

Date Approved: 07.2005

Forest

This project protects forest, preventing the release of greenhouse gases and reducing erosion that damages coastal and ocean ecosystems.

Mangroves

This project protects mangroves, which trap more CO2 than any other kind of forest and as a result, slow global warming.

Ocean

This project protects ocean ecosystems, making coastal communities more economically and physically secure in the face of climate change.

Seagrass

This project protects seagrass, which traps more CO2 than any other marine ecosystem, slowing global warming.

The area surrounding the Sawasawaga community has exceptionally high marine biodiversity. There are extensive mangrove forests and seagrass beds. Dugongs, which are a globally vulnerable species of sea mammal (cousins to the manatee), and the increasingly threatened crocodile frequent the area.

Seacology is providing funds to build a new school in Sawasawaga and repair three teachers’ houses that are seriously dilapidated. In exchange, the community will set up a 25-acre protected area, encompassing coral reefs, open sea, seagrass, mangrove, and forest. They will commit to protecting it for at least 10 years.

Project Updates

June 2008

The Fisheries Management Area that was established at Gabutau Point and in front of the Sawasawaga Village continues to be respected and enforced. Villagers are reporting increases in coral growth, fish, and sea cucumbers within the area. The Seacology-funded classroom is being maintained and is in good condition.

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June 2007

The building remains in good shape, and floors were recently varnished. The protected area continues to be enforced. In April 2007, villagers helped the University of Papua New Guinea conduct a seahorse survey and educational awareness program for the coastal conservation area.

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January 2007

Construction of the school buildings was completed in August 2006. An opening ceremony took place on October 28, 2006, attended by government and church officials and field representative Helen Perks.

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June 2006

Building plans for the school have been drawn up and the site cleared. Construction will take place over the next few months. The conservation area has been GPSed and rules for its management designated. Three fish aggregation devices (FADs) have also been placed within the protected area. Logistical support for the FADs, training and GPS work has been provided by the Asia Development Bank/PNG National Fisheries Authority and the PNG Coastal Fisheries Management and Development Project.

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January 2006

Villagers have held a community meeting and designated rules for management of the protected area, which will be demarcated by GPS. Plans are being drawn up for the school building; construction will take place in the first half of 2006.

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