The World Parks Congress is the landmark global forum on protected areas, held once every ten years, and is expected to bring together more than 4, 000 people from at least 160 countries. The world park congress has been taken seriously by the Pacific nations as a platform to promote their campaign being initiated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme that is “Pacific Voyage: One Pacific Voice”; conveying the message to the region on the need to respect and protect natural places. The voyage is about seeking partnership in helping to protect the great ocean and sustain the Pacific Islands for future generations and for the health of the planet. To convey the Pacific’s message, 4 Vaka (double hull sailing canoe) have taken part in the ‘Mua: Guided by Nature’ voyage that have already been on their way to Sydney schedule to sail into Sydney Harbour on November 12 for the opening of the World Park Congress. The Marumaru Atua of Cook Islands, the Uto Ni Yalo of the Fiji Islands, the Gaualofa of Samoa Islands and the Haeunui of New Zealand will sail under the Sydney harbor Bridge on board will be political leaders, head- of- state and other dignitaries from the respective Pacific Islands nation.
The Mamanuca Environment Society (MES) Team is proud to that among the international dignitaries attending the World Park Congress in Sydney is MES Marine Education Awareness Officer, Filomena Serenia. She is one of the 16 crew members representing Fiji and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature onboard the Uto Ni Yalo.
Filomena has taken this opportunity to raise awareness on the challenging environment issues that the Pacific Island countries are currently facing due to climate change and sustainable management of natural resources for a healthy ocean ecosystem. Filomena who hails from Naivicula, Wainibuka in the Tailevu province had no second thought of this great opportunity with the experience that she had gained from her first voyage through the Pacific Voyagers program in 2012 spending seven months on board Fijis sailing flagship that sailed to San Diego, California. Her knowledge on marine natural history, importance of marine conservation and environmental education are important elements in the Team quest to acquaint all those they met along the way with the messages of marine conservation and non-motorized sailing the traditional way. Her prior expertise and experiences in sailing has given her great opportunity to use in a global theatre as such and the public at large. . According to Filomena, sailing to the Congress hopes to inspire solutions for sustainable sea transport at the same time promoting ocean conservation. The Fiji crew members will be part of the week long conference schedule on the 12th-19th of November, 2014 before returning home.