Raising Pacific Voices (RPV) has launched a research project on behalf of the Pacific Regional NGO Alliance (PRNGO) to listen to the voices of communities and community leaders in Solomon Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Tuvalu about what the ocean means to them.

The ‘Blue Economy’ topic for research was selected by the PRNGO Alliance members after an ‘issue prioritisation process’ over the course of several months in 2018. This was followed by further consideration of the topic, discussion, refinement and approval of the research question by a Regional Influencing Advisory Panel (RIAP) consisting of academics, experts, practitioners, and activists in the area of trade, civil society and regional governance. RPV’s role has been to convene, broker and facilitate the process and the personalities involved in this work to ensure Pacific voices are fairly and accurately reflected in the outcome of the research.

The so-called ‘Blue Economy’ is something Pacific Islanders live with everyday but may not necessarily see it as only something that can meet daily subsistence needs.

The research will continue in various communities in FSM and Tuvalu over the coming weeks and months.

There is often a deep connection between Pacific communities and the ocean that surrounds them. It is hoped the research would be able to contribute to formulating a people-centred definition of what the ‘Blue Economy’ means and then use that position to contribute to influencing a policy outcome with the relevant decision-makers in government.

A team from RPV (Nancy Ravoka Niubalavu and Ricardo Morris), Oxfam in Solomon Islands (Nerol Vaekesa and Ernest Ta’asi) and Development Services Exchange (Ethel Salini) began testing the questionnaire that will be used in the village of Lambi where the main Road from Honiara comes to an end.

Following this test run, the RPV team will support the roll-out of the survey in Vanuatu and Federated States of Micronesia.

The RPV project and the research is funded by the European Union and implemented by Oxfam in the Pacific in partnership with the Pacific Disability Forum as the focal point of the PRNGO Alliance.

PHOTOS: Ricardo Morris/Ernest Ta’asi/Oxfam in the Pacific