Back to top

Helping build Pasifika NiuNet for the Pacific coconut R&D community

A group photo of the 31 people involved in the in-person workshop as part of operationalising Pasifika NiuNet.

Our team recently completed a significant project with The Pacific Community’s Land Resources Division (SPC–LRD). Sustineo played a key role in establishing the Regional Pacific Coconut Research and Development (R&D) Platform, known as Pasifika NiuNet, and developing the platform’s foundational Coconut Strategic Framework.

The coconut sector has faced stagnation for over two decades, primarily due to the sharp decline in copra prices in the late 1990s. The Pacific region, once a major player in copra production (dried coconut flesh), was significantly impacted by this sudden price drop. Many Pacific Island economies that were heavily reliant on copra exports found themselves trapped in a cycle of poverty as a result.

With SPC–LRD, we aimed to identify blockages within the coconut value chain and pinpoint potential strengths to support the sector's development in the Pacific over the next five years. With a renewed regional focus on rejuvenating and expanding the Pacific coconut sector, alongside SPC–LRD’s Integrated Programme for Coconut R&D, the future of the coconut sector looks more promising. We were thrilled to be part of this next step in SPC–LRD’s journey, helping to lay the foundation for Pasifika NiuNet.

Our Senior Consultants, Jodie Kane and Nina Davis, collaborated closely with the SPC–LRD team to co-design and co-deliver two workshops with coconut sector stakeholders from governments and the private sector across Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs). One of these workshops took place in person in Suva, Fiji. While an international trip is always welcomed, there was barely enough time to buy a bula shirt as the team facilitated participatory sessions over three days with coconut sector stakeholders from 14 PICTs. The face-to-face engagement was invaluable for establishing key foundational principles, strengths, opportunities, and capacities of the new platform.

The workshop reports and a desk review contributed to the Coconut Strategic Framework, a foundational document designed to guide the governance board of Pasifika NiuNet in their decision-making and strategic direction over the next five years. Our participatory, strengths-based, and co-design approach ensured the most relevant outcomes for SPC–LRD and the wider Pacific coconut R&D community. This approach was critical in ensuring that Pasifika NiuNet is a collaborative and inclusive regional mechanism, led by the Pacific, for the Pacific.

The reports and Strategic Framework will play a crucial role in the platform's operationalisation phase, serving as key advocacy and legitimising documents to secure funding and regional support for the platform and its activities. Operationalising Pasifika NiuNet is a major milestone in revitalising the Pacific coconut sector.

We are excited to continue watching Pasifika NiuNet grow and make positive impacts across the Pacific coconut R&D community. Go Pasifika NiuNet!