The Environmental Law Program welcomed special Guest Dr. Erika Techera who journeyed from Australia and gave a presentation on September 27, 2010, about her research on protected areas in the South Pacific and issues involving cultural and community-based management. Dr. Techera’s research centers on “how to legally regulate marine areas to sustainably use marine resources whilst meeting the social and cultural needs of the people” in the South Pacific.
Dr. Erika Techera is Senior Lecturer and Director for the Centre for International and Environmental Law at Macquarie University, Australia. Dr. Techera used the islands of Fiji, Vanuatu, and Samoa as case studies to look at the customary marine management laws of each island and their interplay with modern marine governance laws. The local governments of each island accept the respective customary laws and include them in varying degrees thus leading to different challenges for each island. Yet Dr. Techera offered a few hybridization options that would promote a sustainable and culturally-sensitive approach to managing marine resources. One option includes legitimizing community-managed areas by designating community-based marine protected areas or empowering villages to enforce local fishery rules A second option includes taking an integrated approach that fosters collaboration between the government and the local communities, encouraging capacity-building, and strengthening local networks.
Please keep a look out for the book that Dr. Techera is looking to release on her research later this year. As for her next project, Dr. Techera is focusing on…sharks!!