It is with deep sadness that we note the sudden and untimely passing of Ratu Aisea Katonivere, a paramount chief and valued champion of the environment and conservation movement for his people, the vanua Caumatalevu, in the province of Macuata, Fiji and the Pacific region.
The late Tui Macuata inspired hearts at the IUCN World Conservation Congress held in Jeju, South Korea last year. Our recollection of his concluding remarks at the Protected Planet Pavilion indicated how important people and nature were to him, “We put the community first, we put the community second, and we put the community at the end. When the community is left out, the project doesn’t work. With community participation and capacity building, we were able to embrace the new management regimes that were brought in by the various NGOs that are now working hand in hand with us. We can now sustain our marine protected areas for the future.”
We acknowledge and celebrate the life of a friend, a true leader whose insight and commitment has contributed to the success of conservation efforts in his province. Here was a leader who truly valued nature and its services to his people. He leaves behind a lasting legacy.
IUCN along with its Members would like to express its deepest condolences to the family of the late Ratu Aisea Katonivere and to the people of the province of Macuata.