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Forests Minister To Nadi Businesses: Preserve Biodiversity

Forests Minister To Nadi Businesses: Preserve Biodiversity
From left: Minister for Forests Osea Naqamu, Indian High Commission’s consular and commerce second secretary Shri S.C Sahoo and Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management Inia Seruiratu during the Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Indian High Commission business council forum in Nadi on Augustr 4, 2018. Photo: Peni Komaisavai
August 05
12:03 2018

Forests Minister Osea Naiqamu said they aiming to preserve biodiversity, ecosystem services, sequester carbon, improve climate resillience and sustain livelihoods through their Ridge to Reef project worth US$3million (FJD$6.32million).

He made the announcement during the Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Indian High Commission business forum at the Tanoa Hotel Skylodge in Nadi, yesterday.

“The Ministry of Forest has been working in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme and Ministry of Environment  on a GEF5 (Global Environment Facility) ‘Ridge to Reef” Project worth almost US$3m (FJ$6.32m),” Mr Naiqamu said.

“This  which aims to preserve biodiversity, ecosystem services, sequester carbon, improve climate resilience and sustain livelihoods through a ridge to reef management of priority water catchments on the two main islands of Fiji.”

He said the Western Division especially the Nadi area was blessed with good communication networks, better medical and educational facilities than before, close proximity of central Government agencies and business areas.

This also includes the availability of various types of goods and services for the public.

“The upgrading and renovation of services at the Nadi International Airport, attracts more tourists to our country bringing in more money which is an added bonus to the nation’s economy,” Mr Naiqamu said.

“Nadi will soon become Fiji’s third City, indicating growth in our private sector and the confidence to further invest and contribute to overall national development.”

However, despite these advantages the Western division, particularly in Nadi has frequently witnessed and experienced the adverse effects of climate change with recent cyclones and flooding.

“We cannot deny the fact that the frequency of these erratic weather patterns will increase in the future, my ministry has been putting all efforts in conserving and protecting the upper Nadi Watershed,” he said.

According to Mr Naiqamu, the Fiji Forest Harvesting Code of Practice enforcement will be strengthened with Governments allocated budget of FJ$3.75million in the harvesting areas only.

“The environmental systems will be managed for soil and biodiversity protection as well as water systems through strict implementation of the Harvesting Code,” he said.

Mr Naiqamu revealed that their Ministry had been allocated FJ$0.7 million for the Reforestation of degraded forests (RDF) programme which was an increase of FJ$0.2 million when compared to the 2017-2018 RDF budget allocation.

“This project aims to bring back old vegetation and indigenous forests as well as new plantations on degraded lands especially in the Western division,” he said.

In Mr Naiqamu’s eyes, the business forum was an opportunity to discuss and exchange greater and better ideas in promoting  Fiji.

“Perhaps the most important aspects that we should be including in our forum today are to promote an environment where dialogue and consensus are recognised as the best way forward to map out our  development services,” he said.

“To ensure the implementation of policies to promote as well as growing the economy and providing social opportunities to our people, to better their living standards and quality of life.”

He said Fiji pursued its development strategies in enhancing the quality of life of our communities.

“We must also be aware that we have a responsibility to develop strategies that ensures that our natural resources are protected and conserved for our future that we also protect our water-sheds to prevent undue degradation of our lands,” Mr Naiqamu said.

“It is imperative that we work hand in hand to ensure sustainable development and management of our natural resources for our current needs and that of our future generations.”

Feedback:  peni.komaisavai@fijisun.com.fj

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