Steneth Kaniki undertook a Master of Environmental Law to tackle the urgent climate and environmental policy issues we face today, both in his home of the Solomon Islands and globally.
Steneth Kaniki’s passion for protecting and conserving the environment started over a decade ago in the small village Posasi, located on the Island of Vella La Vella, Western Province, Solomon Islands. Having spent most of his childhood there, Steneth was inspired to become an environmental lawyer while watching on as his older brother started an association that aimed to conserve and protect their traditional terrestrial resources. “Since then, I have been heavily involved in environmental law awareness, project implementation, and organising livelihood activities and sports,” said Steneth.
After completing his undergraduate law degree, his first “official job” was with the Solomon Islands Environmental Law Association. Later, he moved to the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs (Legal Policy Unit), where he continues to advocate for climate action. “I’ve been involved in environmental law development projects, law reforms and consultation with stakeholders, and taken part in leading government projects that target ocean and marine resources management,” said Steneth.
The opportunity to study a Master of Environmental Law at Melbourne Law School was a dream come true for Steneth – in part made possible by the Melbourne Climate Action Scholarship. “This scholarship is one of the opportunities available that specifically focuses on Pacific Islanders who wish to pursue further studies in the field of environment and climate change,” explained Steneth. “It allowed me to take my knowledge and skills to new heights at an amazing and prestigious university.”
For Steneth, creating a network of likeminded people, collaborating with academics and classmates, and simply enjoying the environmental and architectural surrounds of Melbourne were some of the highlights of his masters. “The University of Melbourne is a world class university with top lecturers who have rich experience, knowledge and skills in their respective fields,” he added. “It will change your personality and provides new perspectives on how issues on climate change and the environment can be addressed.”
For anyone with a passion for climate action that matches his own, Steneth recommends the course as a “golden opportunity” that will arm you with the knowledge and tools to effect tangible change. What he looked forward to most during his degree was returning home to elevate the work he’d already been doing to a higher standard, adding that his goal is to “delve into research and come up with legal policies to tackle some of the urgent environmental law issues in [his] country.”