21 June 2010

An interdisciplinary research team at The University of Queensland has been awarded a third grant from the US based MacArthur Foundation to continue a conservation project in Solomon Islands for a further three years.

TC Beirne School of Law Associate Professor Jennifer Corrin, a continuing member of the Stage III team, said the new grant would enable the group to implement the recommendations following the completion of Stages I and II of the project.

“The team’s work over the past six years during Stage l and II established a solid scientific understanding of the health and threats to the marine ecosystems in the Western Solomons, in particular the Marovo Lagoon," Dr Corrin said.

“This environmental information has been combined with legal and socio-cultural information to develop mechanisms to manage resources and biodiversity at the community level.”

Dr Corrin said her research in Stage III would focus on developing ways to assist Solomon Islanders to govern their resources in a way that is recognised by the formal legal system without prejudicing the traditional system.

“The formal legal system is not well equipped to deal with traditional land or marine resource management. Solomon Islanders are faced with a frustrating plural legal regime, which often makes it difficult for them to protect the environment.

“However, due to recent experiences with logging and commercial fishing, where the lack of formal structures allowed minorities within the community to control the resource management, there is now a strong desire amongst community members to explore formal legal avenues for governing their resources.”

This inter-disciplinary project involves researchers from a number of UQ Schools such as Engineering and Marine Science, and the Centre for Public, International and Comparative Law in the TC Beirne School of Law.

The current Stage III project is funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, one of the largest independent foundations in the United States. The Stage III projects (2010 - 2013) builds on the success of the Stage I Project (2004-2007) and Stage II Project (2007-2010), both undertaken in the Marovo area in Western Solomon Islands.
Associate Professor Jennifer Corrin, 07 3365 2295, j.corrin@law.uq.edu.au
Lynda Flower, School of Law Marketing, 07 3365 2523, l.flower@law.uq.edu.au