Monsoon Academy: Exploring the field
The last day of the 2019 Monsoon Academy, started early for our half-day field visits. Our first destination was the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary on Chorao Island, which is a protected biodiversity-rich mangrove forest close to the city of Panaji. Being rice paddies only some 50 years ago, Chorao Island is an excellent example of well-managed community conservation. In the mangrove forest, local communities practice traditional passive fishing techniques and shellfish harvesting, thus benefiting directly from a healthy ecosystem. The many species of mangroves and small wildlife in the Sanctuary illustrate the possibilities of close cooperation between government departments (here, forest and fisheries) and communities. The group learned a lot about the mangrove ecosystem, community-centred conservation and the governance of this beautiful island, making it a good example of resilience building in peri-urban areas.
The following visit to the Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Ltd. office, located in the historic Adil Shah Palace in Panaji provided insights into the ongoing and future plans for development of the Goan capital. The vision of Smart Panaji, a city that is more liveable and resilient for its citizen, is built upon extensive data collection, community involvement and forward-oriented planning – a good example of what a smart city can look like, and the institutional and regulatory frameworks for its implementation.
Before closing with a cosy dinner, laughing and chatting about the past three days, a synthesis session stringed together the Academy learning. Using the adaptation continuum, the team shared their experiences of different steps in the adaptation process and answered participants' questions.
Our first Monsoon Academy with Tandem Research in Goa, a setting that is an example of both, resilience challenges and solutions, was a great experience indeed. We are happy to reflect on feedback from our participants and grateful for suggestions to deliver an even better course in the future. To our Tandem team, we can only say: thank you and let's do this again!