Talks to focus on livelihoods of northern neighbours

10-May-2016

A fisher in Timor-Leste casts his net over small schools of inshore fish in front of his village. Photo: Dirk Steenbergen

A fisher in Timor-Leste casts his net over small schools of inshore fish in front of his village. Photo: Dirk Steenbergen


International experts will gather at Charles Darwin University this month to discuss the issues surrounding the livelihoods of communities that rely on coastal resources in the Arafura and Timor seas.

The international research symposium, entitled “Understanding Coastal Livelihoods in the Arafura and Timor Seas: Impacts and opportunities of contemporary approaches to rural development, conservation and resource governance”, will be held from 16 to 18 May.

Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods research fellow Dr Dirk Steenbergen said the event would bring more than 20 researchers from South-east Asia, Europe and across Australia to discuss coastal livelihoods in the region.

“Research shows that the livelihoods of marine resource-dependent coastal communities globally are highly vulnerable due to their exposure to various pressures resulting from globalisation, market expansion, climate change and natural hazards,” Dr Steenbergen said.

“Developing stable and dependable sources of income for such communities, through sustainable resource use practices, are an increasingly prominent objective in conservation and development practice.”

Dr Steenbergen said the symposium would bring together academics and practitioners at CDU to present the state of knowledge on coastal livelihoods in the Arafura and Timor seas and how various forms of change were impacting these.

“We will hear from speakers on the major contemporary environmental, social-economic, and governance threats to coastal livelihoods and highlight potential ways to address these issues,” he said.

“One of the main topics of discussions will focus on rural and regional development and conservation initiatives around sustainable coastal resource management and small scale fisheries, which make a significant contribution to the livelihoods.”

Dr Steenbergen said the symposium would build on collaborations and partnerships with an aim to contribute to a common goal of developing sustainable resource use practices in the region.

The symposium will involve experts from the School of Environment at CDU, the North Australia Marine Research Alliance, James Cook University, the Australian National University, Murdoch University, Wageningen University (Netherlands) and Bogor Agricultural University (Indonesia).

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