At the 8th Assembly of Planners Symposium organized by the Bureau of Statistics and Plans, Kyle Mandapat, UOG Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant Associate Director for Communications and Community Engagement, delivered a presentation on advancing sustainable development through the Guam Green Growth (G3) initiative.
G3 is a crucial component in advancing the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The G3 movement was conceived when Guam became a founding member of the Local2030 Islands Network, a consortium comprising other island nations and jurisdictions. This commonality allows Guam to engage in productive discussions on issues that impact island communities.
Mandapat mentioned some of the guiding principles that underpin the network’s initiatives, including the establishment of public-private partnerships and concrete action plans.
“After looking at the SDGs, we assembled a team of amazing partners, over 100 members from the private and public sector, from education to business to community groups and we formed the largest private-public partnership in the history of Guam, all to address a sustainable future,” he said.
The next significant step was the development of the G3 Action Framework, which outlines the necessary measures for Guam to progress toward sustainability.
Mandapat emphasized that the concept of sustainability has evolved beyond just addressing climate change. It now encompasses a wide array of components, including poverty alleviation, health and wellbeing, inequality reduction, and education enhancement.
“We are really trying to look at sustainability from an entire spectrum,” he said, adding that these components are the basis for the action framework.
Another vital component of this framework is the G3 dashboard, a tool designed to monitor the progress of each action point.
Mandapat outlined some of the accomplishments in the dashboard.
Among them is the Guam Restoration of Watersheds (GROW) initiative. In collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry Division, GROW has been actively involved in reforestation and watershed restoration projects in environmentally challenged areas. One notable project employs drones to distribute seeds, demonstrating innovative approaches to restoration.
Under the umbrella of workforce development, Mandapat showcased the G3 Conservation Corps. This program prepares its members for careers in the emerging green economy. The conservation corps engages in various focus areas, including aquaculture, invasive species management, renewable energy, and waste management.
Mandapat also spotlighted the G3 Makerspace and Innovation Hub, a vital contributor to transitioning towards a circular economy. Through the resources and workshops available at Makerspace, the community can explore innovative ways to repurpose discarded materials like plastic and wood into new products. “We provide training to teach people, including potential entrepreneurs, with the skills to use these materials and machines,” he emphasized.
Additionally, Mandapat mentioned other significant programs, such as the UOG Sea Grant’s aquaculture program and initiatives that support traditional island knowledge, including traditional navigation and the Yo’Amte project, which promotes traditional medicine and healing.
Given the urgency of achieving the 17 UN SDGs, Mandapat stressed the importance of community collaboration in securing a better, more sustainable future for the island.