Australia Awards Fellowships profiles

Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change in the Pacific

Samoan Fellow Moira Faletutulu studying coastal management at Coffs Harbour on the NSW north coast. The Australia Awards Fellowship program provided a grant to the University of Sydney to conduct studies in climate change, soil management, greenhouse gas emissions, forests, fires and pests and diseases. Fellows undertook a combination of structured workshops and fieldwork activities as part of the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change in the Pacific program.

Site visits, in conjunction with lectures from leading Australian scientists, gave the Fellows additional expertise to enable them to contribute to climate change policies back home. While being a negligible contributor to climate change, Pacific island nations are affected by rising sea levels and temperatures and changing water availability.

Patrick Nimiago is a senior soil and forestry scientist from Papua New Guinea. Moira Faletutulu is a policy-maker from Samoa. Both are specialists in climate change. The Fellowship program aimed to strengthen linkages between the University of Sydney and counterpart organisations in Samoa and Papua New Guinea and to improve the skills and knowledge of the participating Fellows.

Papua New Guinea soil scientist and Fellow Patrick Nimiago studying forestry practices near Coffs Harbour.Patrick saw his fellowship at Sydney University as an opportunity to learn more about sustainable forestry. ‘There is a lot of logging going on in Papua New Guinea. I have seen good examples of sustainable forestry in Coffs Harbour and believe some practices could be applied in Papua New Guinea’s forest communities.'

Moira is interested in sustainable forestry but also coastal management. 'We are doing considerable research in Samoa into coastal erosion and the vulnerability of coastal communities. This visit has shown me ways Australia is dealing with the same problem.'

Both Fellows agreed that bringing scientists and policy-makers together for intensive study has made each more aware of each other’s position. 'Next time I work on a policy, I will have a more solid foundation in science and a better idea of the bigger picture,' says Moira.

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Last Updated: 7 October 2014