Solomon Islands - East Rennell
Coral reef off East Rennell. Photo: Kate McMahon.
East Rennell World Heritage Site makes up the southern third of Rennell Island, the southernmost island in the Solomon Islands and the largest raised coral atoll in the world. Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1998, East Rennell was the first World Heritage site among Pacific Island Countries. The property includes marine areas, terrestrial areas covered with dense forest and Lake Tegano, the largest lake in the insular Pacific with many rugged limestone islands and endemic species.
Australia's Department of the Environment is assisting local communities at East Rennell to protect their World Heritage Site and to manage their natural resources sustainably.
The Department's "Strengthening Management Capacity in the East Rennell World Heritage Area," activity is funded by AusAID under the Pacific Governance Support Programme. A key goal of this activity is to establish long-term partnerships involving NGOs and Australian government agencies to work with local communities and the Solomon Islands National and Provincial Governments to build governance capacity for management of the East Rennell World Heritage site.
East Rennell partners established through the Activity include:
- Queensland's Wet Tropics Management Authority
- Solomon Islands-based NGOs including:
- Live and Leam Environmental Education, and
Lake Tegano World Heritage Site Association Management Committee & Aseri Yalangono (SIG Dept of Education), Jacob Zikuli (Live and Learn Environmental Education), Bruce Wellington (Department of the Environment), Laurie Wein (WWF consultant), Alan Smith (WWF), Mike Heywood and Kasia Gabrys (AVI volunteers based with Live and Learn Environmental Education). Photo: Kate McMahon
Two Australian volunteers from Australian Volunteers International based with Live & Learn Environmental Education have lived and worked as technical advisors with the local communities at East Rennell since mid 2008.
Outcomes of the East Rennell activity include:
- a new registered community-based management association,
- awareness raising,
- capacity building and training via workshops for World Heritage governance, and
- community-based decision making processes for sustainable management and monitoring, involving customary land-uses and traditional practices where possible.
The East Rennell activity has promoted greater community awareness, understanding and support for World Heritage as well as facilitating community engagement for protection and management of the East Rennell World Heritage Site.
The officially-registered Lake Tegano World Heritage Site Association has 80% community membership and operates via a democratically elected, representative management committee working under a new constitution.
Formation of the new association and election of the management committee were facilitated by the technical advisors living with communities at East Rennell. The activity also assisted the association to develop an action plan for implementation of the 2007 East Rennell Management Plan.
Lake Tegano, the largest inland lake in the Pacific. Photo by Bruce Wellington.
Negotiations have commenced for development of an ongoing twinning relationship between East Rennell and the Wet Tropics of Queensland. Twinning will facilitate exchange of information and technical management expertise between the two World Heritage sites.
The Department's East Rennell activity is an important model for promoting sustainable management of World Heritage sites by traditional land owners in the Pacific. It represents a significant contribution towards meeting Australia's objective for its current 4-year membership on the World Heritage Committee - to play an active leadership role and facilitate greater uptake of the World Heritage Convention in the region.
For further information on East Rennell please contact:
International Projects - Wildlife, Heritage & Marine Division
Department of Environment
Phone: 02 6274 1111