Monday, May 23, 2011

Participatory 3D Modelling for developing climate change adaptation plans in Boe Boe, Solomon Islands

I’d like to thank all the team who made the ten-day ‘Participatory 3D modelling (P3DM) for climate change’ engagement with Boe Boe community, Solomon Islands, such a successful event.
It is the first time that such innovative, yet simple, mapping and communication tools have been used in the context of climate change adaptation.
The team, led by Kenn Mondiai of Partners With Melanesians, and the Solomon Islands’ TNC staff and local partners, were able to hand over a vibrant, illustrated, ‘living’ and accurately-scaled model of the community customary lands and waters, at a ceremony involving Boe Boe village and neighboring communities.
The model took teams of students and volunteers 3 days to build, and then community members added the detail – from their own houses, their gardens, their route through the mangroves, forest paths, conservation areas, and anything else they reckoned important to note.
At the same time, climate vulnerability and adaptive capacity surveys with households, led by Esther Ririmae and Gideon Solo, and follow-up work by the team with community members on a range of key issues, allowed the modeling exercise to focus on community perspectives of climate change impacts, and the villagers’ collective ability to respond to these and other development pressures.
Of real interest, digital and ‘scientific’ modeling provided by TNC GIS folks (Nate Peterson, Seno Mauli) and Javier Leon of University of Wollongong, was seamlessly integrated into the mapping exercise and gave the community additional perspectives on their local knowledge, to aid decision-making.
The exercise has given all those involved, and all the partners in the Australian Government / AusAID supported project ‘Building the Resilience of Communities and their Ecosystems to the Impacts of Climate Change’, a chance to explore how local communities can assess potential climate impacts, be aware of their own capacities and vulnerabilities, and make decisions going forward.
Please find the attached initial write-up of the activity in the 'files' section at this link http://community.eld...  , along with some resources on conducting P3DM. More detailed reports will follow from Partners With Melanesians and other papers on the lessons learned from the exercise.
The guru of P3DM, Giacomo Rambaldi, based at the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation (CTA) in the Netherlands, has worked with both Kenn and myself before on the tool, and has an online resource kit available at
Next up is 3D modeling at the provincial scale in Manus!

The initiative has been implemented in the framework of the Australian Government / AusAID-funded project ‘Building the Resilience of Communities and their Ecosystems to the Impacts of Climate Change in the Pacific”.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Changing the World, One Map at a Time

The Ushahidi platform is built on the Kohana web framework, a fork of the CodeIgniter framework. It includes built-in support for Clickatell SMS gateways, and the official Ushahidi-hosted websites use the commercial service. Ushahidi provides the option of using OpenStreetMap maps in its user interface, but requires the Google Maps API for geocoding. Ushahidi is often set up using a local SMS gateway created by a local FrontlineSMS set-up. This video provides a good overview on how the platform is being used around the world.

Source: Wikipedia

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Indigenous Peoples and the Collaborative Stewardship of Nature: Knowledge Binds and Institutional Conflicts

Involving Indigenous peoples and traditional knowledge into natural resource management produces more equitable and successful outcomes. Unfortunately, argue Anne Ross and co-authors, even many “progressive” methods fail to produce truly equal partnerships. This book offers a comprehensive and global overview of the theoretical, methodological, and practical dimensions of co-management.

The authors critically evaluate the range of management options that claim to have integrated Indigenous peoples and knowledge, and then outline an innovative, alternative model of co-management, the Indigenous Stewardship Model.

They provide detailed case studies and concrete details for application in a variety of contexts.

Broad in coverage and uniting robust theoretical insights with applied detail, this book is ideal for scholars and students as well as for professionals in resource management and policy.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Pacific Cultural Mapping, Planning and Policy Toolkit

This toolkit has been made possible by the generous contribution of the European Commission, through the Structuring the Cultural Sector in the Pacific for Improved Human Development project. The toolkit was drafted following the Cultural Policy Workshop held at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) headquarters in Nouméa, New Caledonia from 25–28 March 2010, and is designed to provide guidance to countries and territories carrying out the cultural mapping, planning and policy process.
Culture permeates political, economic and social life across Oceania. Because indigenous peoples and practices have predominated across this region for hundreds – and, in some places, thousands – of years, culture is lived and directly influences the values, decisions and hopes of Pacific Island peoples. Culture in Oceania is primarily understood to reference the people or customs ‘of the land’ but in the 21st century many other ideas, beliefs and practices have now taken root. In addition, Pacific populations are increasingly mobile and have settled beyond their indigenous homelands. Similarly, the Islands have welcomed new migrants from other countries. Culture therefore involves old, new and continuously developing modes of thinking, being and creating.

Globally, this cultural process is of great economic and social importance: many countries in Asia, Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Caribbean prioritise culture for national investment, capacity building, human development, peace and security, economic growth and communal revitalisation. In the international context, culture is increasingly central to ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’ – two concepts that are at the heart of the cultural or creative industries. In the Pacific Island region, however, these industries are not clearly defined and programmes or policies on culture are still seen to be primarily about promoting or safeguarding tangible and intangible cultural heritage including traditional knowledge.

Source: Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)

Related topics:  Building Critical Awareness of cultural mapping. A Workshop Facilitation Guide. (UNESCO, 2009)

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Philippines Gov’t cancels deal with Canadian company, and other Palawan updates

ALDAW- May 5, 2011: This week, the Office of the President of Philippines announced that it is cancelling its Financial or Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAAs) for several mining concessions in Palawan.

The FTAAs were originally signed by the authority of the President of the Philippines on April 12, 2010 and registered with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on May 31, 2010 to Narra Nickel Mining & Development Corp., Tesoro Mining and Development Inc., and McArthur Nickel Mining. All three companies are affiliates of Canada's MBMI Resources Inc.

Indigenous Peoples in Palawan, however, aren't quite ready to celebrate the news, as the ALDAW Network observes in a recent statement:

Overview of Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) in Southern Palawan
"These mining corporations have the potential for causing the devastation of precious watersheds, indigenous ancestral territories and productive farm-land in Central/Southern Palawan. Thus, the temptation on our part would be to celebrate this fantastic news right away, and salute Pres. Noynoy for his long-sighted decision. However, past experiences tell as that government announcements of this kind must be read, interpreted and reviewed with extreme caution before assuming that things are really as they appear to look like. So – before 'full-blast' celebration, let’s us wait and see first how the President's 'decision' looks like on paper. Indeed, we hope that, soon, the concerned agency will make a copy of FTAA cancellation publically available."

It also appears that MacroAsia Corporation has "voluntarily given up" its own mining exploration permit in Northern Palawan. Apparently, the company, which holds a concession covering some 4,500 hectares of land, wants to support the government's plans to turn the region into an eco-tourism hub. However, ALDAW's equally reluctant to celebrate this news, as well.

"To us [it] looks a bit 'plastic' and, perhaps, has more to do with MacroAsia’s attempt to distract national and international attention away from its mining claims held in Southern Palawan which overlap with the Mantalingahan Protected area, with valuable watersheds and with the ancestral domain of Palawan indigenous communities," ALDAW continues. "Some of these IPs are extremely vulnerable having limited contact with the outside world." ALDAW's reluctance is understandable. As the network points out, despite the promising announcements, "indigenous people in Palawan continue to be the object of military abuse and derogatory prejudices." 

"In the first instance, it would appear that mining companies are spreading the news that the NPA is supporting anti-mining leaders. For the past two months soldiers in full-combat gear, have entered the ancestral domain of the Palawan in the Municipality of Brookes’ Point. Two weeks ago, several indigenous peoples have also been taken to the police station without due process and have been subject to intense investigation. Is it possible that what mining companies are attempting to achieve in Southern Palawan is the militarization of the area where they intend to extract minerals, thus creating a situation of tension/danger that may force local indigenous inhabitants to vacate the area or to give up any resistance to mining."

The Save Palawan Movement's lofty "No to Mining in Palawan" campaign leaped passed one million signatures, making it one of the largest running anti-mining petitions around. The Save Palawan Movement is a multi-sectoral coalition of concerned environmental, legal religious and other civic groups which launched the "No to Mining in Palawan" campaign on February 3rd, 2011. This was in direct response to the killing of Dr. Gerardo "Doc Gerry" Ortega, a civic leader who championed the protection of Palawan and an outspoken critic of mining operations on the Island. As of now, the petition has gathered a total of 1,047,989 signatures. Ultimately, The Save Palawan Movement and it partners hopes to gather "ten million signatures to deliver a strong message to the Philippine and Palawan governments so that they would finally say no to mining in Palawan and help protect one of the Philippines’ last remaining treasures."

With the recent announcements from the Office of the President of Philippines and MacroAsia Corporation, perhaps that message is already being received.

Sign the petition at

For more news and updates on indigenous people and mining in Palawan, visit ALDAW's facebook page at