Yesterday deja vu struck me as Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ (ECO) hosted a website launch. In the same room as the new SeaNet was unveiled, three years ago ECO launched a similar webite focusing on the resource management act.
The new website has been set up to “help people and communities and environmental groups to navigate to find out how to participate in public processes for policy and decision making on the management of human activities and impacts on the sea and in the coastal environment.” There is also an emphasis on putting people in touch with each other.
Speaking at the launch Cath Wallace, ECO Co-chair, emphasised that the website is a fact-based initiative, rather than being about advocacy. Obviously people are encouraged to contribute to planning processes, but the website doesnot promote a particular partisan stance. The intention seems to be that the broad range of people and organisations interested in the marine world should be recognised. Iwi, sports fishing groups and greenies are all willingly listed in the directory.
There is already a lot of material uploaded on policies, legislation, international agreements and agencies, and over 100 organisations listed. ECO want to keep what is being consulted on up-to-date, and new organisations and material listed. A minimal budget is available for maintenance, but the bulk of this will be done as a community effort.
To me obvious additions (not already the designers yell!) to support a community effort is a way of facilitating some form of interaction between people participating in sea conservation, and collecting email addresses to send irregular updates and reminders. There is a danger with a centralised system as it stands that sufficient resource may not be available within ECO to devote to regular updates. It’s a big task for anyone running a website.
As the sun rises on ECO’s new initiative I say cheers for the dedication of all concerned. I hope it makes a big splash for marine conservation.