Biodiversity & Ecosystem Management Headlines

A birds-eye view for planning – Cook Islands first Participatory 3D model

Vaka Puaikura on Rarotonga now have their very first three dimensional model to help the district use integrated planning while maintaining sustainable use of their resources.

The training on participatory three dimensional modelling (P3DM) for local communities in the Cook Islands drew upon the expertise from fellow Pacific island countries – Samoa and Tonga, who have also completed the participatory 3D model training with local communities.

P3DM 1Image courtesy of the Cook Islands National Environment Service

"We've been here working on a legacy for Vaka Puaikura. We all came together in the spirit of community, people across generations and across Polynesia with our brothers and sisters from Samoa and Tonga, to build something that I believe is truly special, this experience for me has brought forth a wealth of knowledge, experience and history," said Mr Joseph Brider, Director of the Cook Islands National Environment Service.

While this Training exercise focused on the district of Vaka Puaikura, there are plans to replicate this in other districts and islands planned for the coming years.
"I would like to thank the Cook Islands National Environment Service and also the experts from Samoa and Tonga for sharing the experience from their countries and helping our district with this training," said Mrs. Tokerau Tinomana Ariki, paramount chief of Vaka Puaikura.

The training brought together community members, school children and government officers from relevant ministries to construct a P3DM of their district based on their own local knowledge integrated with modern knowledge. The young children from Arorangi Primary School enjoyed learning new skills from the trainers and from the elders of Vaka Puaikura. The children participated actively and completed their tasks with great enthusiasm.

"I am very happy to see many volunteers from the community helping to put all the different features of our district on this 3D model," said Mrs. Tua'ine Marsters, community member of Vaka Puaikura.

CKI P3DM 2Vaka Puaikura's Three Dimensional Model

The P3D model is a powerful tool that provides the community with a birds-eye view of important areas within their village and it will greatly assist the district of Vaka Puaikura with conservation and broader land use planning.

The five-day training held from 13 to 17 June, was a key activity of the Cook Islands Global Environment Facility Pacific Alliance of Sustainability - Integrated Island Biodiversity (GEFPAS IIB) Project executed by the National Environment Service in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the Government of Samoa - Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment, the Government of Tonga GEFPAS IIB Project, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), the UNDP-Adaptation Fund Cook Islands Strengthening Resilience in Communities to Climate Change Project, and all the key agencies, organisations and communities of Vaka Puaikura of the Cook Islands.

The GEFPAS Integrated Island Biodiversity Project is funded from the Global Environment Facility, implemented through the United Nations Environment Programme and executed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme in the Cook Islands, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu.
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