The movement of cultural goods is not new to the Pacific: for hundreds of years, across miles of ocean, societies traded and exchanged their valued and symbolic creations. These served to enrich and amplify rituals, to initiate and strengthen bonds, to re-establish peace, to foster diversity and to generate wealth.

Craftwork in the region remains a ‘true bearer of historical record’i and continues to embody the values and identities of families, clans and villages. Today, many communities produce crafts for cultural, social and economic purposes but the Pacific has also become a net importer of cultural goods and services, and many producers struggle to benefit appropriately from their skills and operate in the ‘informal’ sector. There is a range of reasons for this and the Pacific Community (SPC) is working actively with its member countries to address them, including through the collaborative production of this first handicraft biosecurity manual.

The manual has two main objectives: to provide biosecurity officers at national borders with a reference when examining articles, and to enable craftspeople to find all export and import regulations in a single document.

This is in line with SPC’s commitment to preserve the rich biodiversity of Pacific Island countries and territories by assisting in preventing invasive pests and diseases from entering at national borders. SPC’s aim is to also continue ensuring improved food, nutritional and income security, through the sustainable development of cultural and natural resources in the region. To do so, it draws on the technical expertise of its divisions and their collaboration with each other and with SPC members. The manual is an illustration of this approach and of SPC’s continued commitment to the health, security and livelihoods of Pacific peoples.

The production of the manual is an outcome of the Pacific Plant Protection Organisation’s commitment to improved biosecurity in order to prevent the movement of unwanted pests to new areas. It was  made possible by the Pacific Horticulture and Market Access Project (in particular through Component 4: Regional Support Services), which is funded by Australia and managed by the Biosecurity and Trade team of SPC’s Land Resources Division.

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