Eleven visiting blue carbon fellows from the western Indian Ocean region visited Australia in November this year to participate in capacity building in the Blue Economy framework, with a focus on blue carbon.
CSIRO led the fellowship through the Australia Awards program and hosted fellows from the island nations of Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles. The visit provided the fellows with intensive classroom-based lectures from researchers and academics from all over Australia, including the CSIRO, the Universities of Western Australia, Melbourne and Queensland, Edith Cowan University, and Australian industry.
The training encompassed law and governance, economics and finance, restoration practices, ecology and chemistry, and more. The fellows had the opportunity to test their classroom learning in the field, exploring seagrass meadows at Rottnest Island and World Heritage-listed Shark Bay, and mangroves in the Ramsar wetlands of Moreton Bay. They also spent time in the laboratory processing samples, and held productive conversations with policymakers from Australian government departments in Canberra.
Their final session comprised a debrief in which they listed the shared challenges they had identified during their conversations together over three weeks (policy, finance, capacity and data needs were all highlighted), and a list of actions that they felt they could contribute to. They were enthusiastic about the potential to develop communities of practice, in which members could regularly meet and exchange ideas and knowledge, as well as specific project ideas relevant to each nation.
On their return home, the fellows will begin to apply the concepts they have learned in their jobs in government, NGOs and the private sector. Mauritian fellow Sundy Ramah highlighted the value of the networks he built with Australian experts and his regional counterparts. Seychellois fellow Danielle Jupiter indicated that the fellowship will help better understand trade-offs, leading to improved decisions. Malagasy fellow Gildas Todinanahary looked forward to applying his new skills to the systems he works on in Madagascar, including how to value them for the benefit of stakeholders.
Follow this link to the Australia Global Alumnae page to read a blog and see photos of the fellows’ visit.