Fourteen participants from the small island state of Tokelau are currently participating in the Pacific Tourism Waste Action Initiative (PTWAI) organised and facilitated by the Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) this week (November 21st -25th).
The PTWAI is a regional programme of action from the tourism sector as its contribution to addressing waste management challenges in the Pacific, which if not addressed, could adversely affect the potential of tourism across our Pacific Island destinations. The PTWAI is a collaborative effort between SPTO and Fiji based artisan, Mr. Warwick Marlow.
Tokelau is the eighth SPTO member nation to participate in the PTWAI training. The PTWAI training has been successfully delivered in Samoa, Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Fiji, and FSM, the initiative has been well received and has even attracted international recognition through the 2020 Creative Tourism Awards.
Tokelau’s Director of the Department of Economic Development, Natural Resources and Environment (EDNRE) Mika Perez commended the week long training adding that Tokelauan participants would earn these skills not only to build their capacity with plastic usage but also they would return to Tokelau to their respective islands and communities and share their skills and knowledge.
“The lessons from this training will go a long way for the Tokelauans because it will change their mindsets on how they see plastics now especially since Tokelau imports a lot of plastic-related products into the country. We have a few teachers as part of the participants and they can use this training to share their knowledge in their respective classrooms,” Mr Perez said.
Tokelau Transport Ministry’s Immigration Officer Ms Neta Teao highlighted that the younger participants would benefit greatly from the training with initiatives like the PTWAI be rolled out in school curriculum.
“I think this training has been an eye-opener as the knowledge earned is something I can easily take back to my family and make them aware on what’s happening to the environment and what we can do to help. We can also use this to earn an extra income,” Ms Teao said.
In acknowledging the importance of the workshop SPTO CEO Chris Cocker mentioned that the project concept focused on advancing the reach of the initiative to benefit more communities in the Pacific.
“This initiative targets community representatives from Tokelau. It incorporates both traditional and scientific knowledge in promoting marine conservation, reduction of plastic pollution and creating sustainable livelihoods for tourism-reliant communities,” Mr Cocker said.