The Ministry of Forestry recently signed an agreement with Conservation International (CI) for the development of a Strategy that will assist the country reduce its emissions from deforestation, forest degradation and to sustainably manage its forests ensuring there are enough trees and forests to store carbon.
Permanent Secretary for Forestry, Mr Pene Baleinabuli said the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation, Forest Degradation, Forest Conservation, Sustainable Management of Forests and Carbon Stock Enhancement) Strategy will guide the development of a set of programs and activities that will address the underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation in Fiji.
“The Strategy will assist in achieving Fiji’s obligation the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to contribute to global low carbon emissions and the sustainable development agenda in particular as a safe, natural means of carbon capture and storage.
“Forests are also increasingly recognized as an essential element of any strategy to stabilize our climate as per the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13,” he said.
The Strategy will also contribute to Fiji’s Emission Reduction Program (ERP) which intends to build climate resilient communities that can contribute to the reduction of emissions as well as enhance livelihood opportunities.
“The ERP proposes to the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) of Fiji’s effort to combat climate change through the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions and enhancing removals at the rate of 2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 5 years. The proposal commits about 90% of Fiji’s land mass in 20 districts in Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni.
“This means that Fiji is offering to build climate resilient communities that will offset greenhouse gas emissions through interventions like forest conservation, afforestation, reforestation, sustainable forest management and agroforestry activities,” PS Baleinabuli said.
He added the Strategy is in line with Government’s 30Million Trees in 10-15 Years initiative which is to encourage Fijians to replant and to reduce carbon emissions thus contributing to the global movement to address climate change.
CI Country Director Susana Waqainabete-Tuisese is keen to support the development of the REDD+ Strategy stating; “we will first review the 2010 REDD+ Policy and through stakeholder engagement and collaboration we hope to develop a set of policy guidelines that will address major drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in Fiji. My team and I hope to work with the Ministry of Forestry and a wide range of stakeholders to deliver on the overall aim of developing a set of guiding principle for the forest sector’s contribution to emission reduction, strengthen socio-economic status of forest resource owners and beneficiaries, restore and rehabilitate degraded landscapes and forest, protect forest ecosystem and sustainably manage timber and non-timber forest products for the well-being of current and future generation of Fijians.”
She said this is an opportune time to support contributions from the forest (and other landuse) sector to the global and national discourse on emission reduction and ensure alignment to Fiji’s standing commitments through related policies such as the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Implementation Roadmap, the Low Emissions Development Strategy, National Development Plan, Forest Policy and others.
Fiji became a participant country in the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) in 2013 and a year later in December 2014, the FCPF authorized a grant funding of US$3.8 million to support Fiji’s preparations in engaging in a future REDD+ performance-based system. The grant agreement for the Fiji’s Readiness-Preparation Proposal (R-PP) readiness fund was signed in May 2015. An additional $2million was provided in 2017. This additional funding was to assist the Fiji National REDD+ Programme to carry out more awareness programmes to stakeholders and to strengthen the capacity of existing institutions in the forestry and agriculture related sectors dealing with sustainable land management and sustainable forest management. Fiji is now preparing for the second phase which involves the implementation of the Emissions Reduction Program in 20 districts in three islands only – Vanua Levu, Viti Levu and Taveuni.
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