Coordinator for the Arafura and Timor Seas Ecosystem Action (ATSEA) Program Regional Demonstration Project (Indonesia and Timor Leste study tour to Northern Australia)

Coordinator for the Arafura and Timor Seas Ecosystem Action (ATSEA) Program Regional Demonstration Project (Indonesia and Timor Leste study tour to Northern Australia)

This activity involved 10 participants (8 men and 2 women) from 5 locations on Rote Island, Indonesia and 3 communities in Timor-Leste to meet with Australian Indigenous groups, environmental managers and conservation professionals during 7-12 October 2013.

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With Johanna Karam (CDU) and the North Australia Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA).

Funded by the Australian Government Department of the Environment and the Global Environment Facility International Waters Program.

This activity involved 10 participants (8 men and 2 women) from 5 locations on Rote Island, Indonesia and 3 communities in Timor-Leste to meet with Australian Indigenous groups, environmental managers and conservation professionals during 7-12 October 2013.

The participants were selected due to their leadership and active role in their communities in community based marine, conservation management activities and desires to improve local livelihood outcomes. The visit was conducted as part of the Arafura and Timor Seas Ecosystem Action regional exchange program, which seeks to improve shared understanding of community-based marine and coastal management and livelihood issues between the three countries which border the Arafura-Timor Seas region. 

The Arafura and Timor seas are important for the marine biodiversity but contain some of the most highly threatened coastal and marine ecosystems in the world. The region is extremely rich in marine resources. Valuable fisheries resources are vital to many communities in the region and support economic and livelihood activities that stretch across the region’s international borders. While there were vast differences in the socio-economic characteristics and conditions within and between the countries bordering the Arafura and Timor seas, many communities shared common issues, challenges and concerns. Some of these issues include physical remoteness, cultural and linguistic diversity, community poverty, mobility and migration, and shared responsibilities for marine resources.

The aim of the visit was to enable participants from the Indonesia and Timor Leste  to generate ideas, innovations and partnerships that will contribute to strengthening community capacity for sustainable livelihoods through improved coastal management, aquaculture and biodiversity conservation. The group met with representatives from Charles Darwin University, The Nature Conservancy, the North Australia Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance , Northern Territory Government’s Darwin Aquaculture Centre, Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation and the Yirralka Rangers- – Laynhapuy Homelands Aboriginal Corporation from the Nhulunbuy region of eastern Arnhem Land.

This visit was a pilot and we hope to enable more cooperative exchange visits among the three countries in the future. A plain English story report documenting the visit and DVD story report and a slide show of the visit is available on VIMEO at https://vimeo.com/album/2760325

 Collaborating organisation: North Australia Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA),  ATSEA Program

Funding: Commonwealth Department of the Environment,  Global Environment Facility.

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