Fiji’s Emission Reduction Program (ERP) was accepted without conditions into the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) in July 2019 and will be operational by July 2020. The Emission Reduction Program Agreement (ERPA) is expected to be signed by December 2019.
The Hon. Minister for Forestry Mr Osea Naiqamu led a delegation to Washington D.C in July to present Fiji’s ERPD.
Fiji’s ERP program intends to build climate resilient communities that can contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions as well as enhance livelihood opportunities. The program describes the measures that Fiji will take to ensure longterm reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the forestry sector, while at the same time ensuring that the livelihoods and wellbeing of communities are enhanced, social and environmental safeguards are strengthened and all activities contribute to the sustainable development of the nation.
Fiji’s ER Program will also monitor changes in the forest cover over a five (5) year period, covering the three (3) largest islands of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni. The forest cover or trees acts as carbon sinks and will determine the emission level and set the “forest reference level” (FRL). At present, Fiji’s FRL is set at the subnational level and work is being done to elevate the FRL to national level.
On the signing of the ERPA, Fiji is expected to conduct carbon stock enhancement or tree planting activities to sequester 2.5 million tons of carbon, which will be monetized and traded to the FCPF. These activities include reduce Impact Logging under the tree diameter limit regime; b) protection of sites of biodiversity significance under a protected area regime; c) the adoption of Climate Smart Agriculture techniques that include agroforestry; and d) the reforestation of barren land and enrichment of degraded forests through a nationwide tree planting program. Incidentally, Fiji launched its “4 million trees in 4 Years” tree planting program in January 2019.
At present, Fiji’s ER program covers 94% of the total land area and will impact 740,000 people which is 86% of the total population. The islands are generally hilly and the population is often concentrated on coastal plains and undulating rolling hills of peri urban areas. The ER program will be conducted at the district level and has identified 20 sites through stakeholder participatory meetings and validated by the REDD+ Steering Committee. These 20 districts are at high risk of forest loss and degradation; areas with large communities/settlements at the forest edge; areas with high poverty and known biodiversity hotspots.