The Vava’u Environmental Protection Association was started in May 2009 by a group of local leaders concerned with the pressing environmental conservation issues facing the islands of Vava’u. VEPA has four focus areas aimed at ensuring biodiversity and conservation, increasing knowledge exchange, and securing sustainable livelihoods.
Biodiversity and Conservation:
VEPA works on conservation projects in a range of environmental habitats including coral reefs, mangroves, and forest areas. We work to protect and restore these natural resources for the benefit of Vava’u and the world around us. In doing so, we hope to ensure that Vava’u maintains its unique biological diversity.
Education and Awareness:
VEPA seeks to educate the youth of Vava’u so that Vava’u’s environment and resources will be available for future generations. We run education and awareness projects in all areas of the community on the importance of sustainably managing their environment. Perhaps more than in an industrialised nation, maintaining a healthy environment is truly essential for life on these islands. Our work helps fishermen, farmers, and women’s groups to provide for their families in a way that will be sustainable for years to come.
VEPA strives to increase awareness about current environmental issues and connect environmental advocates. Everyone has a stake in the health and beauty of Vava’u, and VEPA is a resource for different communities to unite and work towards this mutual goal. We support individuals with backgrounds ranging from law, environment, health, to tourism and development. We aim to build the capacity of volunteers so they have the skillset to manage environmental projects in their respective villages.
VEPA works closely with the Department of Environment (MEIDECC), Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Governor’s office in Vava’u on all our projects. All of VEPA’s projects follow the current legislation under the Kingdom of Tonga. We collect independent, accurate data, using recognised methodology on Vava’u’s environment, which can ultimately be used in helping to develop effective environmental legislation.