Wallis island and lagoon

Wallis

At Wallis, the INTEGRE project aim to preserve an maintain the quality of life and of the environment.

The project is therefore divided into three specific objectives are :

1. Improve waste management
2. Preserve and manage water resource
3. Strengthen the environmental monitoring

w-carteWallis Island has a tropical wet climate and 78 sq. km of emerged land with the highest point being 150 m. The coast hosts a few mangrove areas, mainly in the west.

The 200 sq. km lagoon is enclosed by an unbroken barrier reef comprising four channels, and the island is surrounded by fairly extensive reef flats that contain sea-grass beds. Some 20 small coral and volcanic islands are dotted about the lagoon and coral barrier.

Environmental Description :

Wallis Island is characterised by a number of features including secondary vegetation in the form of coconut plantations, ferny heaths, Caribbean pine plantations and food crops, crater lakes, surface lakes and primary forest remnants (Dentrand, 1999). Home to many remarkable species, Uvea also has endemic species including one cicada, land molluscs and one plant species. Colonies of nesting seabirds shelter on the small offshore coral and volcanic islands. The lagoon and its associated ecosystems in the shoreline habitats, sea-grass beds and mangrove swamps do, therefore, raise major biodiversity challenges (Egretaud et al., 2007).

Social and Economic Description :

The population of 8584 (2014) is mainly concentrated in the eastern part of the island. Some 2108 people are employed (2012, employment rate of 45%) with the public sector (government and education) being the largest employer at 44 % of jobs (IEOM, 2014). Farming and fishing are at subsistence levels with produce being eaten by the growers themselves or used in customary exchanges. There is a trade deficit, with imports (from Australia, New Zealand and France) forming the Territory's main economic activity. The only exports are beche-de-mer and trochus shells.

The French Government heavily funds the local economy to the tune of XPF 12.4 billion in subsidies in 2013 (IEOM, 2014). Emigration is very high with 20,000 Wallisians and Futunans living in New Caledonia, i.e. twice as many as live in the Territory.

Administration :

The island is administered by the French Prefect, Wallis and Futuna's most senior public servant and the head of the executive branch. The council of chiefs is made up of six customary ministers, three district chiefs and 21 village chiefs and is presided over by the King or Lavelua. It has specific jurisdiction over land tenure. The Territorial Assembly is made up of 20 members (13 from Wallis and seven from Futuna) elected by universal suffrage and is the deliberating authority.

Priorities for consideration as identified by the Territory:

Waste management, including for stockpiles accumulated in the territory;Preserving water resources (the water table, the island's only water resource, is fragile). The hazards are related to basalt rock quarries, the lack of a sewerage system and pig farming without any manure disposal;Preserving a heavily eroded coastline with beaches disappearing due to sand quarrying for building purposes; Awareness training: the public's behaviour towards waste, fishing techniques and farming methods seriously endangers the environment. Other potential hazards include chemical pollution from pesticide use;Preventing overharvesting of sea cucumbers, shellfish and other stocks and overfishing, all of which upsets lagoon ecology.

The plan was developed based on the INTEGRE site-based action-plan development guide with the involvement of the community and the establishment of local committees and an interdepartmental committee in accordance with project implementation procedures.

Wallis action items :

Waste management : strengthen waste management capacities (build a new landfill cell, support for landfill site development, site organisation), waste collection – general awareness for both the general public and waste operators: household waste (provide sorting bins at strategic locations on Wallis Island, manage and evaluate a recycling bin drop-off centre, produce a TV ad on waste management, hold waste management poster contests). Create a green and organic waste recycling industry (improve livestock effluent management and manure use, develops a coconut processing industry). A waste management plan started in 2010, but on hold pending funding, etc;

Water resource management : define water catchment area boundaries and evaluate the household sewerage disposal system;

Lagoon environmental analysis: feasibility study for a golden-lined rabbitfish pilot farm using a local hatchery.

The plan was submitted to CTEDD (Territorial Environment and Sustainable Development Council) on 20 June 2014 and endorsed and the Prefect of Wallis and Futuna approved it. Although most of the activities were approved, some still require fine-tuning and will be amended based on the various recommendations made. They will then be resubmitted at the next Territorial Environment and Sustainable Development Council.

Memoranda of Understanding MoU (SPC / OCT's territorial authorising officers), Conventions Implementation (SPC / managers operators) and agreements (SPC / technical operators) were then prepared by the coordination team and offered to partners. Thus, the MoU was signed between the SPC and the Prefect of Wallis and Futuna September 10, 2014 and Conventions implementation and agreements was signed with partners.

Other activities will be brought by the SPC such as the development of an integrated coastal zone management plan and awareness campaigns and communications that will be conducted in the Territory.

Finally, some actions have already been taken, such as:

  • A feasibility study as part of the activity improved herd management for better management of livestock manure. The results of this study were presented to the various stakeholders.
  • An expertise MicaNC mission as part of the definition of protection zones catchments to mount the feasibility study plots.
  • The first stage of fixtures in the diagnosis of the situation of domestic sanitation and livestock facilities. The results of this study were presented at the Territorial Council of the Environment October 3, 2014.

Pacific territories’ initiative for regional management of the environment

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