NATION

Fiji Shows Support For Asia Pacific Rainforest Recovery Plan

Fiji is one of the countries that strongly supported the outcome document of the Asia Pacific Rainforest Recovery Plan during its first summit in Sydney, Australia in 2014. And according
06 Aug 2016 09:34
Fiji Shows Support For Asia  Pacific Rainforest Recovery Plan
Minister for Fisheries and Forests, Osea Naiqamu.

Fiji is one of the countries that strongly supported the outcome document of the Asia Pacific Rainforest Recovery Plan during its first summit in Sydney, Australia in 2014.

And according to the Minister for Fisheries and Forests, Osea Naiqamu since then, Fiji has been working together with key stakeholders in addressing the country’s initial contribution to the draft document.

This includes carrying out awareness and consultation and the identification of priority areas for collaboration under the Recovery Plan.

Speaking to participants from the Asia Pacific region in the city of Bandar Seri Begawan, in the Kingdom of Brunei, Mr Naiqamu said that the summit is an excellent opportunity to further build on the plan. He said it would consolidate it against the Agenda 2030, the 17 Goals of the SDGs with its 169 Targets, the Paris Agreement, the Durban Declaration: 2050 Vision for Forests and Forestry; and to build on the current political momentum that was created by our leaders under the Paris Agreement, the 2030 Agenda, and the Sustainable Development Goals in order to move forward from plan into action, within the Asia Pacific Region.

“Forests will continue to play a vital role in many countries within the Asia Pacific Region in contributing to national economic development, food security, employment and in supporting livelihoods in rural areas,” Mr Naiqamu said.

“But at the same time, there is a growing challenge in addressing the needs for agriculture expansion, and in Fiji, communities are also requiring land for aquaculture development. There is a strong need for a more integrated approach in addressing issues of Sustainable Forest Management and Sustainable Land Management,” he added.

Mr Naiqamu also stressed that we are moving into a time where forestry can no longer be separated from agriculture and fisheries.

“A more holistic approach is needed within the region in order to ensure the effectiveness of the programmes we are putting in place targeting the sustainability of our forest resources and ecosystems.

“Also putting in place a platform for collaboration in areas of policy development, and implementation of activities to include forestry, agriculture, fisheries, Ministry of Local Government and Environment, Ministry of Lands, Ministry of Rural Development which will be a vital and key strategy for moving forward towards the implementation and achievement of common goals and targets across the region,” Mr Naiqamu said.

He went on to say that climate change will continue to be a very important issue for Fiji in years to come and it will take some time for Fiji to rebuild and fully recover from the effects of Tropical Cyclone Winston.

“We are very much grateful to those who provided assistance in various forms during our time of need.”

Adaptation to climate change is an area that will need close attention, as the effects of climate change has the potential of undermining current national development efforts.

And due to the vast potential, and multiple role of the forest in addressing poverty and ensuring ecosystem sustainability, the Fijian Government has been steadily increasing the total budget allocated to the Forestry Department for the past number of years. Focus areas are in reforestation and afforestation, in which the Ministry of Fisheries and Forests work with rural communities, private sector, and NGOs in restocking deforested areas and in expanding forest cover.

Steps has also been undertaken with forest owning communities in collaboration with the private sector, NGOs and development partners, in the protection and conservation of their forest resources. This is done through capacity building and identification of alternative economic opportunities which has been received with a lot of support and interest from local communities.

The main challenge in this area is how to develop the economy of forest owning communities in areas that does not destroy their natural resources, or in areas that is totally outside of the natural resource sector.

In community owned forest plantations, the Fijian Government has also been providing assistance to forest owning communities in the utilisation of their forest resources to ensure that they get maximum benefit.

Mr Naiqamu also congratulated the Government of Brunei for successfully hosting the 2nd session of Asia Pacific Rainforest Summit, and the Australian Government for the wonderful leadership and continued support.

“Fiji is fully committed to and will continue to support the common objectives of this Summit and the successful implementation of the Asia Pacific Rainforest Recovery Plan.”

Source: Ministry of Fisheries and Forest

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