Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade

The European Union-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) pilot project aims to support commercial ventures and producer groups in becoming export-oriented, market-driven enterprises that will consistently supply overseas markets with competitive agricultural and forestry products. The project is implemented by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Suva, Fiji and started in May 2008.

Forests are a key element to mitigating climate change
Thursday, 25 February 2010 12:21
‘Forests, climate change and markets’ was the very appropriate theme of the Heads of Forestry meeting held in Nadi last week. Indeed forests and trees are at the centre of one of the biggest global challenges.
Chief Adviser of the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) Regional Programme on Adaptation to Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region, Dr Hermann Fickinger addressed meeting of the Heads of Forestry from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s member countries and territories.
‘As foresters, we are very much aware of the role that forests play in the global and local climate regime and the fact that the world’s forests contain more carbon dioxide than the whole atmosphere.’
‘But with the loss of about 13 million hectare of forests every year, which is equivalent of half of the size of New Zealand, the forestry sector contributes almost 20% to global greenhouse gas emissions.’ Dr Fickinger said.
Therefore, with regard to climate change forestry is regarded as part of the problem, but it can also be part of the solution.
‘No other terrestrial ecosystem is more appropriate to prevent or mitigate the effects of storms, floods and landslides than forests’ adding that ‘forest ecosystems can best provide a continuous water supply in a dryer climate regime and that mangroves can mitigate the effects of sea level rise.’
‘At this point when we talk about markets with respect to forests, we are referring to timber markets as timber is what you can sell on the market.’ He added.
‘But the real economic value of forests is in the services they provide; it is very likely that the value of timber is only the smaller part of the real economic value of forests. Hence, to argue that those other services have no price is not valid.’ Mr Fickinger said.
For example, Fickinger explained, when one considers the cost for reconstruction of roads and bridges lost due to landslides, the real economic value of forests becomes clear.
He believes another opportunity to get a better price from forests is by giving carbon a value that can be sold in a carbon market.
‘Initiatives like Reducing Emission from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) are a new way forests can be preserved because somebody is paying for carbon credits from forests.’
Papua New Guinea and other countries from the ‘Coalition of Rainforest Nations’ are strongly advocating REDD on an international level and  this will be an important topic of discussion at the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen in December 2009.
Fickinger urged the participants to learn more about climate change, forests and markets from experts and country representatives who are already engaged in these discussions and to prepare for direct involvement of the forest sector in the international climate change regime and regulations.
Around 60 participants, observers and resource personnel attended the Pacific Islands Heads of Forestry meeting, which was organised by Land Resources Division of SPC in collaboration with the European Union, GTZ and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).
For further information please contact Vinesh Prasad on telephone (679)3370733 or (679) 9938746, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or LRD Help Desk on email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
 


The European Union-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) project is implemented by the Land Resources Division of SPC.