REPORT (summarised version)
Note: This is a summarised version of the full report, which is available upon request.
Responsibility and Water
Governance · Indigenous Knowledge· Enterprise· Education
Samoa: 25 January to 2 February 2008
To form a Pacific regional network on Responsibility in reference to the health of water ecosystems, engaging with indigenous knowledge, and working in the fields of governance, enterprise, education.
Responsibility is an ethical framework for governance, and for enterprise, research and education . In other words, engaging with Responsibility is to link environmental ecosystems with systems for economic and social wellbeing. Internationally, responsibility is understood to be complementary to Human Rights, and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
To host an interdisciplinary forum on Integrated Governance and Management with reference to responsibility for water ecosystems, for ongoing collaboration in projects with partner organizations.
Contribute to an ethos of responsibility for aquatic ecosystems in the Pacific, linking biodiversity, resource, business, health and utility interests, and including intergenerational responsibility.
The network to include practice based case studies or research on water related projects, working with whole of systems engagement in integrated governance and management.
Case studies are to be undertaken in participant countries, with reference to customary and/or professional interests and commitments, over 5 years.
- Work with social/professional/cultural participants with responsibility and influence in their fields.
- Support integrated governance and enterprise, by engaging with interested and effected parties from local to central levels.
- Proceed in partnership with indigenous peoples.
- Involve a cross-section of disciplines relevant to governance, community and business enterprise and environmental education.
The Pacific region is made up of water ecosystem nations with responsibilities for oceans that are huge in relation to their land mass.
Pacific nations are under threat of inundation from climate change and melting ice caps – events to which they have not been contributors.
Indigenous Peoples of Pacific nations generally seek to ensure continuity of traditional systems of political, cultural and social organization while engaging with contemporary challenges and deepening international/global interests in the region.
A group of 40 or so participants from Samoa, Aotearoa-New Zealand, Tahiti, Australia, Philippines, Papua-New Guinea and Fiji met in Samoa for 5 days in January 2008. The host organization in Samoa was Afeafe o Vaetoefaga, an institute for cultural restoration and research for socio-economic wellbeing. The Head of State of Samoa opened the symposium and participated in the proceedings. Participants from other Pacific countries (Vanuatu, Hawaii, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, and Australia) who were unable to attend this meeting have expressed interest in continuing with the network.
Disciplines, or socio-professional fields, represented included:
Environmental, sustainability, organics, and conservation; sciences: marine, oceans, fisheries, climate change, physics; law; creative artists and writers; resource management; government agencies, environmental education, policy, education, film makers, academic researchers in management and social sciences; utilities; indigenous leaders.
Presentations from these different fields of knowledge followed by round-table interaction with the knowledge and information shared brought an opportunity to engage with many different aspects of responsibility in governance and management, and with water. Presentations from indigenous leaders underlined the correspondence between responsibility and indigenous priorities of obligation and reciprocity in respect of resource use and care.
The approach of integrating an ethical framework of responsibility into existing socio-professional work was supported, with participants keen to continue in a network to strengthen integrated decision-making to build practice in responsibility as a governance framework.
Particular areas for further collaboration were identified:
- For those involved in coastal management and enterprise, participate in the Local Management of Marine Areas network meeting in Fiji, November, 2008.
- Hold a Pacific environmental education meeting, in New Zealand 2009.
- Work with opportunities for collaboration on governance and management in the region. For example, a forum on Leadership and Collaboration with Indigenous groups from Alaska.
- Engage with existing and new enterprises, as case studies for an ethics of Responsibility.
- Responsibility as a framework for conflict resolution.
- Build links with Solidarity Economy network and enterprises.
- Film documentary on Responsibility in Governance with reference to Water.
- Publication of an edited collection of contributions to Across Oceania.
LIST OF ORGANISATIONS REPRESENTED
- The Head of State of Samoa
- Afeafe o Vaetoefaga Institute for Cultural Restoration and Research for Economic and Social Wellbeing, Samoa
- RESPONSE Trust for Earth Responsibility and a Charter for Human Responsibility
- South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP), Samoa
- Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources – Samoa
- Foundation of the Peoples of South Pacific International (FSPI), Fiji
- Live and Learn – Environmental Education, Fiji
- Mahona na Dori. – Environmental Education, Papua New Guinea
- Academic fields of Governance in Education, Management and Social Enterprise, Physics, Mãori Studies, New Zealand
- Te Kuwaha, NIWA – National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research, New Zealand
- Samoa Electricity Company, Samoa
- Women in Business – Organics and Pacific Business Enterprises, Samoa
- Hiti Tau Conseil national des ONG du pays Maohi, Tahiti
- Organic farmers New Zealand, Samoa, Tahiti
- Kaitiaki, River guardians, New Zealand
- Creative Artists and Writers, New Zealand, Samoa,
- Film-makers, Samoa, New Zealand
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS
His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta’isi Efi and Masiofo Filifilia Tamasese
Her Excellency NZ High Commissioner to Samoa, Caroline Bilkey
Samoa and Pacific Islands
Kate Brown – SPREP . Pacific Roundtable for Nature Conservation, Biodiversity
Clark Peteru – SPREP International environmental conventions
Muaausa Joseph Walter – Gen. Manager, Electric Power Corp.
Malaki Lakop – Policy, Water Resources Division, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Samoa.
Kilali Alaimima – Matai Samoa and NZAid.
Taimalieutu – Tamasese Afeafe o Vaetoefaga, Samoa
Tafaoimalo Parsons – Afeafe o Vaetoefaga, Samoa
Nofoalii Village members
Fiu Mata’ese Elisara-Laulu – O le Siosiomaga Society Inc.
Cedric Schuster – Director; PECL, and Global Green Funds, Samoa
Adimaimalaga Tafuna’I – Women in Business – Land Programme, Samoa
Moemoe Von Reiche – Artist
Gabi Tetiarahi – Hiti Tau Conseil national des ONG du pays Maohi. Land Programme, Tahiti
Anaseini Ban – Environmental Education, Mahon ?PNG
Marie Fatiaki – Programme Manager. Live & Learn Environmental Education
Hugh Govan – FSPI (covering 10 PICs) and the Locally Managed Marine Areas LMMA Network
Galumalemana – Steve Percival
Chris Kavelin – Lawyer, and Indigenous Rights
Flora Santos – SANLAKAS Fisherfolk organizing
Isagani Serrano – Conrado Benitez Institute for Sustainability. Philippines Rural Reconstruction Movement
Dr. Charles Te Ahukaramu Royal – Director Mauri Ora ki te Ao. Living Universe Ltd.
Parekawhia McLean – Mauri Ora ki te Ao. Policy
Dr. Charlotte Severne – Manager, Te Kuwaha, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA)
Kimberly Maxwell – NIWA. Fisheries
Kelly May – Te Kuwaha, NIWA. Oceans, Customary Fishing
Penehuro Lefale – (Samoa) NZ Meteorological office – Climate Change
Anaru Luke – Ngati Rarua, Wairou (Nelson); Pou Kura Taiao / Kaupapa Atawhai Manager, Dept.Conservation
Dr Ocean Mercier – Te Kawa a Maui. Victoria University
Dr Pataka Moore – Te Wananga o Raukawa. Ecologist. Tuna
Victor Grbic – UNITEC and Te Papatipu Kaitiakitanga
Laura Beck – Law and Biodynamic farming
Miringi Hohia Kaitiaki – author, festival organizer, Parihaka A-NZ
Piripi Hami – Kaitiaki Whanganui River A-NZ
Deamon Coyle – Ngai Tahu Borderless Productions Film Company
Dr Sailau Suaalii-Sauni – University of Auckland.
Assoc Prof. Maria Humphries – School of Management Studies, University of Waikato
Te Kawehau Hoskins – Mãori Education, University of Auckland and Te Papatipu Kaitiakitanga
Dr Betsan Martin – Convenor, RESPONSE Trust. Researcher. Project Convenor
A list of people and organizations contacted and unable to attend is appended at the end of the report.
The Head of State of Samoa, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta’isi Efi, most graciously agreed to open the Symposium, with the presentation of his paper ‘Water in the Samoan Indigenous Reference.’ His Highness brought a blend of indigenous reference, intellectual leadership, inspirational discussions with participants and keenness to engage with the knowledge being shared at the Symposium. Tui Atua Tupua Tamasase Efi conveyed his concern with the burden of responsibility in climate change, being fully aware of the effects of the oceans rising and what lies ahead for the Pacific peoples and their lands.
We were welcomed to Samoa by Taimalieutu Kiwi Tamasese and Tafaoimalo Loudeen Parsons, leaders of the NGO Afeafe o Vaetoefaga. We were generously hosted at the Symposium and at Nofali’i village where a traditional presentation took place. Water traditions of the village were told in the round fale (house), alongside the lagoon with the sound of the waters breaking on the reef and ocean beyond.
Penehuro Lefale, a Samoan Climate Change scientist and lead author of the IPPC Report on Island States, led an analysis of Climate Change impacts in Small Island States and the Pacific Region. Pene was a lead author of the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC. The IPCC was co-awarded with Al Gore, the Nobel Prize in 2007.
Charles Te Ahukaramu Royal, of Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Tamatera and Nga Puhi peoples, interwove indigenous philosophy with responsibility as an approach of being nurtured in knowledge of the living universe, and the potential of this to address contemporary social and environmental challenges for long term sustainability.
A group from Te Küwaha, NIWA was led by Charlotte Severne, of Tuwharetoa, . Charlotte is the Manager for Oceans research and Mãori research. She gave an erudite and comprehensive presentation on Mãori interests in fresh and water and oceans and on the vaste issues of policy, resource management and governance of the Pacific Ocean.
The address by the Head of State of Samoa marked a ceremonious opening to the Symposium. Guests who were welcomed included the New Zealand High Commissioner, Caroline Bilkey, members of the Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources, representatives of the South Pacific Regional Environmental programme (SPREP); Adimaimalaga Tafuna’i and associates, CEO, Women in Business; The CEO of the Samoa Electricity Company, Muaausa Joseph Walter; Cedric Schuster from the Global Green Fund, and representatives from the Water Division of the Ministry for Natural Resources and Environment. Along with agency representatives were Kilali Alailima, from the Island of Manono, and staff member of the New Zealand High Commission, and the Artist Momoe Von Reiche.
Participants came from Philippines, Tahiti, Fiji, Australia, Papua-New Guinea, Aotearoa-New Zealand. They contributed to the gathering through the sharing of expertise and experience, with the opportunity for building a Pacific consciousness of Responsibility inclusive of indigenous knowledge to meet environmental and social challenges in the region. There were twenty six participants for the symposium, with nine local contributors, along with ten or so local visitors who attended for various sessions.
In keeping with our hopes for an intergenerational dimension, we had elders and leaders, quite a group of young professionals, a young student, some local young people and, among the visitors, a sixteen year old and her seven year old sister.
In preparation for the gathering we were in touch with a number of people who were unable to attend at this time, but who expressed interest in continuing with us. They were from Hawaii, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Palau, and Vanuatu.
The Symposium was held on the main Island at Tofamaomao, at a spacious Catholic Centre which was characterized by warm and generous hospitality. We went by ferry to Savaii for the second part of our meeting where the beach and lagoon setting inspired concluding processes and onward planning.
Borderless Productions, a New Zealand film company, filmed the proceedings with a view to making a film on water. Daemon Coyle and sound engineer Victor Grbic formed the film crew, with contributions from Galumalemana Steve Percival, recording presentations, expeditions and giving practical and technical support.
Te Au o Te Moana was a richly textured interplay of warm spirited and high quality participation, and hospitality given in the largess of Samoan tradition.
Supported was given by KOHA-PICD (NZ), and the Green Grant Fund.
The Symposium was made possible most
generously, by the Charles Leopold Mayer
Foundation (FPH), France.
BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT
Philosophical Approach identified by Charter Team
A feature of Across Oceania/ Te Au o Te Moana was the dialogue on Responsibility across different world views and different disciplines, including those doing practical working on rivers, to those writing on epistemology! Through presentations and round-table dialogues, participants brought expertise in science, philosophy, education, management, community development, fisheries managers, farming and film making infused with traditional knowledge.
Bringing together participants from different disciplines, agencies and institutions brought a rare opportunity for exchange of knowledge and experience beyond our known expertise. Interdisciplinarity invited us into the space of being enriched by new experience, and into the challenge of making space for new collaborative enterprises. One was the exploration of fish farming enterprise between a Samoan village and a NZ marine scientist.
In our early reflections on the Charter for Human Responsibility, the NZ Charter committee identified a commitment to work with projects that would in some way restore the nature-culture relationship. We analyzed, as others have done, the nature/culture split as being a constitutive issue in the crisis of Climate Change. The same issue underlies the marginalization of indigenous cultures that Across Oceania/Te Au o Te Moana seeks to address. According ‘mana’ or privilege to indigenous peoples is to acknowledge the longer indigenous experience of the Pacific, and the significance of indigenous knowledge to the future of life on the planet.
The Pacific encompasses both ‘developing’ and ‘developed’ nations. Within developed nations, indigenous peoples are positioned as marginalized. Such nations include Tahiti, Australia, Aotearoa-New Zealand, where indigenous peoples are working in a context of French and Anglophone state systems. The deep asymmetry between traditional systems of land tenure and the overlaid Europeans systems of private property continue to be a source of tension and conflict.
A unique aspect of the Pacific context for environmental responsibility is the effect of customary land tenure which continues in collective titles in villages in many Island States, and to a lesser extent in Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand. In Pacific Island States, governments have a role in conservation and sustainability, but sustaining living ecosystems is a responsibility largely located in villages where care has to be integrated with livelihoods. At the Across Oceania symposium Kate Brown-Vitolio from the Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP) spoke about policy frameworks for traditional approaches to sustainability in the Pacific, working with the well respected approach of integrating environment, economy and society.
In the Pacific there are traditions of responsibility held by women in respect of land, with regard to tenure and decision-making. Provisions for women’s roles with respect to land are underwritten by a myriad of specific national and tribal traditions for the authority of women to ensure protection, use, distribution of land and water resources, and decisions to preserve tribal, village and communal land for successive generations. Indigenous traditions to balance and safeguard the role of women and men are expressed in a relational modality with mutually supportive accountabilities between the sexes. Modern influences such as the significant role of the church, migration, global interests and ‘development’ agenda, have brought new economic systems and ideologies. These have shifted traditional systems and have reshaped the social order, including changed positions of women.
Our interests are in building a culture of women in continuity with indigenous wisdom. This approach requires interpreting the contributions required of women for contemporary challenges, with building capacity in skills, knowledge and responsibility that preserves the traditional authority of women in the context of communal and relational values, and in areas of guardianship of lands and waters.
MAIN THEMES TE AU O TE MOANA /ACROSS OCEANIA
The following key themes emerged from the symposium:
- Indigenous Knowledge Reference for Responsibility
- Climate for Change
- Oceans Science, International Conventions
- Enterprise: community and business initiatives
- Environmental Education: Taking Care of the Pacific
- Governance and Collaboration: with Environmental Responsiveness
Indigenous Knowledge reference for Responsibility
The Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese
Efi identified reciprocity as a guiding indigenous reference
in Responsibility for Water. The spirit of true reciprocity, he
argued, means that ‘if you take from the environment you have
a responsibility to give back. If you have received from
another, you have an obligation to return favour’. In the
Samoan indigenous reference, conserving the environment
is to live the values of reciprocity.
This relational view can be seen in the understanding of rivers as a living organism, an ancestor with whom its people are genealogically related. It is an understanding of the river interacting with the many land systems and human habitats through which it passes from the mountains to the sea. An integrated approach would regard fresh water and oceans as a continuous ecosystem, and include environmental interests in governance and management.
Areas for continuation of Te Au o Te Moana, Across Oceania which have been identified include:
- An ongoing network working in responsible governance. The broad area of water is to continue, but to be inclusive of governance in fields that correspond with professional commitments of participants.
- Continue to engage with indigenous knowledge.
- Exchanges of practical knowledge of local management of marine coastal areas. Joining in a Local Management of Marine Areas network meeting in Fiji is proposed from participants working in coastal and marine management.
- A Pacific network for environmental education.
- Responsibility as a framework for conflict resolution arose in the context of identifying disputes over rights and entitlements to resources and property. The corresponding ethics of responsibility as articulated in the Charter give scope for a unifying framework. This needs further exploration.
- Renewable energy water conservation initiatives. Two projects for follow through are:
- Manufacture and installation of solar energy systems.
- Investigation of systems of household water storage. In Samoa and New Zealand water supply and electricity to households are through government and municipal systems. Household water tanks would reduce extraction from rivers and provide backup in times of crises, such as more intense weather patterns of drought and cyclones.
- Film documentation was made of all the presentations and local water environments. Intention to proceed with a short film and a documentary.
- Dissemination of the contributions will be made through publication of an edited collection of the presentations. A CD of presentations is being prepared for participants and will be available to interested groups on request.
Plans are under way to follow up on these directions for continuing network activities. Along with a report of the partnership with the Philippines, a proposal has been agreed to by KOHA_PICD for contributing to bringing people together later in 2008.
We are working to convene a group in Fiji to build involvement in the Local Management of Marine Areas (LMMA) network and deepen the sharing of knowledge and experience between Pacific groups. Sharing knowledge and collaboration are ways of spanning differences between developing and developed countries, indigenous knowledge and science, science and social science, economic benefit and environmental wellbeing. Involving young people means will be an avenue for participation in Lets Take Care of the Planet, an international environmental education initiative that started in Brazil and is being supported by the FPH.
Te Au o Te Moana, Across Oceania is to contribute an ethical and epistemological reference to practical socio-economic initiatives to facilitate whole of systems methodologies that brings benefit to water ecosystems and to communities sustained by them.
Participants agreed to share responsibility for maintaining networks, support collaborative projects and contribute to resource materials and reports. Leaders to support the network with project leadership and co-ordination, fund raising, organizing follow up meetings, and resource and publication materials.
The Charter for Responsibility gives impetus to supporting the long traditions of responsibility in the Pacific in the interests of our common future. It is hoped that in this transitional time economic interests can become calibrated to the life-supporting systems of earth and our oceans, and that precaution is taken to respect all that is not known but needs to be safeguarded.
Great appreciation is extended to the FPH for enabling Te Au o Te Moana to take place, and for the contributions of KOHA_PICD (NZ), and the Green Grant Fund.
Betsan Martin, Convenor of Te Au o Te Moana
Tafaoimalo Loudeen Parsons. Afeafe o Vaetoefaga
With the committee: Charles Te Ahukaramu Royal, Te Kawehau Hoskins, Maria Humphries, Laura Beck