|Regional forest inventory training in the Pacific|
|Saturday, 06 September 2014 08:33|
More than 20 participants representing six Pacific Island countries attended a two-week training regional workshop on forest inventory held in Labasa, Fiji, 15–29 August 2014.
The training was organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) with the support of the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) through the Regional Forest Monitoring Project.
Among other things, the project is supporting SPC in establishing a regional forest inventory facility to provide training and technical backstopping to assist and support Pacific Island countries in establishing and maintaining their forest monitoring systems for REDD+ (which in addition to REDD, takes into account the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks).
Forests provide many products and services that are vital to the well-being of Pacific communities. However, they must be managed in a sustainable manner for these contributions to be maintained and/or enhanced for the benefit of future generations. This is especially critical now given the Pacific Islands’ vulnerability to climate change and the important roles that forests play in both climate change mitigation and adaptation.
But sustainable forest management regimes can only be effective if accurate data and information about forests are available and maintained. This has not been possible up to now as most Pacific Island countries have rarely, if ever, been able to undertake national forest inventories, due mainly to lack of resources.
This two-week training workshop in Labasa, the first of a series workshops on forest inventory to be organised by the project, provided an opportunity for participating countries to continue to build the required capacities towards undertaking their forest inventories and also to be in a position to assist each other in this endeavour.
Edwin Apera of Cook Islands said that this was the first time he had participated in any regional forestry training and acknowledged with gratitude the support and assistance of SPC, FAO and UN-REDD.
‘In addition to the technical knowledge gained, the added value for me was the contacts that I managed to establish with colleagues from other countries, which will be valuable in mobilising forestry support for us in the Cook Islands,’ Mr Apera said.
In acknowledging the importance of such training, Terrence Titiulu, Solomon Islands Deputy Commissioner of Forests, said that perhaps there needed to be more time spent on forest data analyses, something that continued to handicap his organisation. ‘I am already looking forward to the second training course and hope that we would be able to collect some real data that we could analyse.’
The second regional training course on forest inventory will be held in Solomon Islands during the first two weeks of November 2014.
The training workshop was formally closed by Fiji’s Deputy Conservator of Forests (Services), Eliki Senivasa.