Applying the OS to develop a strategy for the Lau Seascape, Fiji

Story sent by Annette Olsson, Conservation International and Co-Franchise Leader for CCNet Southeast Asia

The Lau Seascape is one of the most remote archipelagos of Fiji and is characterized by exceptional marine and terrestrial biodiversity. However, unregulated development, unsustainable land use, overharvesting of marine resources, and disintegration of social and cultural assets are threatening the fragile ecosystems and livelihoods of this province.

Since 2013, Conservation International has worked with the forum of traditional leaders of Lau to lay the foundation for successful interventions across the province, which culminated in the development of the Lau Seascape Initiative in 2016. The initiative is now a multi-partner effort comprised of community and indigenous representatives, the Government of Fiji, the private sector, and non-governmental organization stakeholders.

To ensure sound planning and implementation of actions under the initiative, Conservation International facilitated strategy planning workshops with representative partners and the chiefs of each island. During the workshops, the team used the Open Standards to identify key conservation and human well-being targets, discuss main threats, build a conceptual model, and select seven main strategies to implement. They also developed results chains and a comprehensive monitoring structure and work plan for each strategy. Through these workshops, partners from government agencies, civil society organizations, the provincial office, and the private sector developed a draft plan to guide integrated management of marine and terrestrial ecosystems and improve the health of the fragile ecosystems and livelihoods of the Lau islands and communities. At a follow-up workshop in May 2018, all 30 traditional chiefs of Lau reviewed the draft plan and further refined the strategy. A high level of involvement from all partners, especially the Lau Chiefs, is ensuring buy-in and motivation that will help this initiative implement strategies successfully and achieve the desired impacts.

Chiefs of Lau and representatives of Conservation International work together

on creating a results chain during the second planning workshop.

Photo by Annette Olsson, Conservation International.