The Fijian Government is grateful to the World Bank for the extension of the Fiji Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Readiness Project for the next eighteen (18) months.
The remaining activities under the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, Forest Conservation, Sustainable Management of Forests and Carbon Stock Enhancement) Readiness will need to be completed by December 31, 2021.
Minister for Forestry, Honourable Osea Naiqamu said, “We are very happy with the extension over the next 18 months as this will greatly assist in efforts to address the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation and improve our forest information systems.”
He said the extension of this program will contribute to the implementation of Fiji’s Emissions Reduction (ER) Program implementation.
“This involves the setting up of systems that efficiently and effectively collect, process and report on forest cover change, emission levels and safeguards like a benefit sharing plan, and feedback and grievance mechanisms.
“This work will be promoted though a national awareness campaign that is envisaged to reach all Fiji citizens,” Minister Naiqamu said.
He added the ERP had proposed to the World Bank’s 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.
Program Team Leader, REDD+ Unit, Mr Ilaisa Tulele said that for this REDD+ readiness phase, the activities over the next 18 months will include the establishment of main data collection sites in terms of monitoring forest cover change and to establish a national repository for monitoring and reporting purposes.
He said the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation are numerous and include but are not limited to logging, agricultural development, growth in population and demand for land for resettlement purposes and infrastructure & other land developments including mining.
“It is also recognized that the “concept of change” must first begin with the decision-makers and/or planners, which requires a multi-sectoral approach with REDD+ stakeholders in Government, the resourced-based communities, civil society, private sector, and other regional and international organisations.
“The purpose too of the extension is to strengthen the multi-sectoral approach in the management of the forest and land resources, and the preparedness towards the implementation of Fiji’s ER Program.
“This can be achieved through firstly, the participatory planning and decision-making and the harmonization of development needs with sustainable management of the natural resources, and secondly the institutionalization of the integrated land use plans as the guide to development.”
Mr Tulele added that one other major activity will include elevating the forest reference emission level from sub-national to national level so that future forest reference emission level (FREL) will be accurately determined and closely reflect Fiji’s carbon pools and state of it forests.
Anis Wan, Task Team Leader of the World Bank thanked the Fijian Government for agreeing, in the first place, to implement the REDD+ concept and for its subsequent efforts to-date.
“I trust that with concerted efforts from the Government of Fiji and the Bank team the remaining activities under the Readiness Project will accelerate and be completed and objectives achieved in the next 18 months. We look forward to continuing our successful cooperation,” Ms Wan said.
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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