SAERI Group visit to St Helena for DPLUS NCA Project and MOVE-ON South Atlantic Anchor Project

Azra Gordy

The SAERI Group has a tripled presence on St Helena Island this month, as Tara Pelembe, Deputy Director (Innovation) and Jack Ingledew, GIS Officer and Database Manager arrived earlier this month to join Azra Gordy, Spatial Data Analyst for the MOVE-ON Project. The purpose of the visit is to deliver training, events, and support for two projects that SAERI Group partners on: the MOVE-ON project and the Darwin Plus (154) project entitled ‘Sustainable Management Planning for St Helena’s National Conservation Areas (NCAs).’

Under this work one event was delivered on 21 March: “Maps, Nature, People and Decisions,” a public-facing GIS event hosted by St Helena Community College, where our sister organisation St Helena Research Institute is based. This event consisted of open sessions for interested GIS users and potential users to learn about GIS basics and techniques and how to access St Helena GIS data. In addition to the training, this event gave attendees an opportunity to join an on-island GIS technical group and SAERI’s UK Overseas Territories Knowledge Exchange group, a Slack group where GIS users across the UKOTs can exchange tips and troubleshoot each other’s GIS issues. More events will be following, including specialised training sessions based on prior feedback from St Helena Government partners and a final wrap up event for the MOVE-ON South Atlantic Anchor Project for all directly involved stakeholders.

The focus of the MOVE-ON South Atlantic Anchor Project was to investigate how to bridge the gap between evidence and decision-making by making Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystem Services (MAES) outputs meaningfully available to policy and decision-makers on St Helena. The process for achieving this has been to work in partnership with the St Helena Government (SHG) and establish a Spatial Data Analyst on-island in the SHG GIS Office, whose role is to provide real-time support and analysis for decision-making across SHG departments. After almost 12 months in post, at the time of writing the project has engaged 66 stakeholders across all 6 portfolios of SHG and 11 outside entities, including regular scheduled in-person presence at five separate office locations. Topics where spatial data analysis has now fed into decision-making have included determining policy zones to reduce the risk of hybridisation of endemic plant species, distribution of endemic invertebrate records to inform the next St Helena Invertebrate Conservation Strategy, biosecurity and invasive species control, and mapping of pollination services. MAES methods applied and showcased have included the identification of ecosystem services hotspots, participatory GIS, and Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis. This visit will facilitate more public-facing events to communicate the use of GIS, deliver training requested by stakeholders, and set in motion the wrap up of the project and any processes required for the project afterlife.

The DPLUS154 project aims to develop management plans for St Helena’s nature based NCAs. Jack Ingledew-Gale from SAERI Group is on-Island to work with SHG partners to deliver the GIS and data training that will underpin the management plans.

In addition to an end of anchor project report (MOVE-ON Deliverable 3.5), the South Atlantic Anchor Project will also use the in-depth experience of St Helena to provide guidance on including environmental spatial data in policy and decisions. These will then be expanded into a wider set of guidelines on how to bridge the gap between evidence and decision-making on small islands (MOVE-ON Deliverable 5.4). These results are anticipated to be delivered in Spring 2022. As part of our contribution to the DPLUS154 project partnership, SAERI Group will deliver another round of training in Year 3 of the project.

The MOVE-ON South Atlantic Anchor Project has received funding from the European Union, under the programme Implementation of the Second Year Pilot Project — Mapping and Assessing the state of Ecosystems and their Services in the outermost Regions and overseas countries and territories: establishing links and pooling resources, MOVE-ON Project (MOVE-ON – From case studies to anchor projects – setting the ground to advance MAES in Europe’s overseas, grant agreement Nº 07.027735/2019/808239/SUB/ENV.D2, This project has been funded with support from the European Union represented by European Commission Directorate – General Environment. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
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