In these times of worsening impacts of Climate Change, the Head of Vanuatu Environment Advocacy Network (VEAN) Lai Sakita says communities that are prone to the negative impacts of climate change cannot sit and wait for help to go to them but that they must learn to help themselves by forming their own local committees and work with VEAN to help them adapt to the impacts of climate change.
VEAN which used to locate in the Vangov Offices is the first NGO to relocate to the Shefa Commercial Offices Complex (former Shefa Guest House) at left immediately opposite the entrance to the Head of State Offices.
In the exclusive interview Sakita says the network has been on for some time and environmental activities have been set up and running throughout the archipelago but that they have been working in isolation of each other. “Because of their isolation of each other therefore, there is no coordination to help them to network to support each other”, he explains.
“We set up our NGO as an umbrella consortium under which communities own their organisations, associations and committees from all the Provinces from the North to the South”.
The areas the organisations focus on are Biodiversity Conservation, Climate Change, Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS) and Invasive Species. “The organizations or committees that exist in each village or community is owned by them because experience has shown that when we are seen to be the ones up front to run the show has not been sustainable since when our funding run out, those organizations also fade out”, Sakita says.
Now he says they merely work with them to help train their manpower and encourage them to own their programmes and activities and work to find the solutions to their challenges.
VEAN also connects them to funding agencies to assist with funding to strengthen their environmental programmes.
The NGO also connects them to network to share information.