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News Update from Aotearoa – New Zealand and the Liquid Continent
Planning for Across Oceania, one of our regional projects on Responsible Governance of Water Ecosystems, is progressing well. We have been maintaining networks with a range of contributors from various professional sectors such as ecosystems science, governance and management, water activists and specialists, ethics and human rights leaders and so on. We are keeping in touch with institutes and agencies and maintaining discussions with indigenous groups. The inaugural forum, or assembly is to be in Samoa in January 2008, and the plan is for there to be representatives from NZ, Australia, Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, French Polynesia, and other Pacific countries as well – perhaps, and hopefully the Philippines.
Maria and I have made an exciting connection with film makers who are very interested in coming to Samoa to create a documentary of the Across Oceania initiative. They are a dynamic and engaged company who travel internationally creating documentaries on issues of sustainability. We are excited that a film company is interested in filming the Across Oceania project. They will seek funding and we have to clarify plans to work together.
We are working on local funding applications. There is also work progressing on developing international funding avenues.
Over the last few months we have been keeping in active communication with 2 Australian groups, and making plans for exchange activities. In February we had quite a special 3 day meeting with a core groups of us and an Australian partner, Robbie Lloyd. We were interested in deeper aspects of Responsibility for our team, and gave in-depth attention to the Oceania initiative.
Another Australian contact is through The ChangeAgency, an NGO working on strategies and effective methodologies for bring about social and environmental change. They are linked to Amnesty International. People in our team (Laura, Te Kawehau, Betsan) participated in a dynamic social change workshop program with The ChangeAgency, building skills for working with community groups. Our participation was through a social justice network here.
There are further plans for a Human Rights and responsibilities forum, with a focus on Rights and Responsibilities for Water. A comment was given to me last night by a leader in Social Justice movements here, on the Charter principles: Responsibility, as set out in the Charter, is a new paradigm, based on ethical relations – it transcends the need for rights! He had previously been critical of the Charter, but re-looked at the principles.
Arohanui Betsan and Laura