IAS Hosts First Urban Solutions/ Sustainable Cities Seminar and Networking Meeting


The Institute of Applied Sciences (IAS), USP in collaboration with the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP), implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recently hosted an Urban Solutions/ Sustainable Cities Networking Event at the IAS Warbler House, Suva on July 12, 2023. The event brought together GEF SGP grantees, stakeholders, innovators, and community leaders as an initial step to foster collaboration and share best practices in creating environmentally friendly and socially inclusive urban spaces.

The network hopes to provide a unique platform for participants to engage in meaningful discussions, exchange ideas, and forge partnerships that promote sustainability in urban environments. Its first meeting included scientific researchers, non-governmental organisations (NGO’s) and entrepreneurs.

In her opening remarks, Ms Akisi Bolabola, the GEF SGP Programme Coordinator said that the seminar provided a networking space to share and develop strategies, “The GEF SGP, at UNDP  had and continues to support initiatives implemented by groups such as the Uto ni Yalo Trust, Pacific Blue Foundation, Suva Harbour Foundation that work in the greater Suva area. Recent work include supporting efforts of the Lami Oceania Wesley church that have regular seminars already organised. To avoid working in silos, a forum as such recognizes the importance of bringing together relevant and interested stakeholders and involving IAS due to its extensive and targeted scientific research in the Suva Harbour,” she stated.

The session included presentations from scientific research work. Teddy Fong, IAS Environment Unit Project Manager presented the baseline study findings and water quality testing results of the Tamavua-i-Wai river as commissioned by the Suva Harbor Foundation (SHF). Joape Ginigini, PacMAN Project Manager with IAS presented on Ocean Acidification and Biofouling issues. The third presentation was by budding entrepreneur Eliki Dakuitoga of the Qaqi Mai Bike Share project which is looking at introducing cycling as a green travel option to curb Suva’s traffic problems.

IAS research in the Suva Harbour/Lagoon goes back almost three decades and continues to date. There are other academics and students from USP and other Fiji universities who have or are currently undertaking important research in the Suva/Lami urban areas and this seminar series intends to bring these to the fore, but more importantly is to ensure that the science and innovation reaches the community.

The network will be open to landowners, resource users, urban planners, architects, business owners, policymakers, researchers, representatives from government and non-governmental organizations, and anyone interested in sustainable urban development. This network also hopes to encourage other local municipalities to do similar networking events so city and town dwellers can start looking at making their own towns and cities sustainable. Attendees will gain valuable insights, forge new connections, and contribute to the ongoing discourse on building resilient and inclusive cities.

For more information on attending the next Suva/Lami urban solutions networking and seminar session, contact teddy.fong@usp.ac.fj

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