Fiji drafting REDD-plus strategy
Thursday, 09 December 2010 07:55
L-R: Mr Samuela Lagataki (Fiji Forestry Department); Ms Titilia  Boila (Native Land Trust Board); Ratu Osea Gavidi (Viti Land Resource  Owners Association); Ms Kirti Chaya (Fiji Department of Environment)Fiji is aiming to be REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation)-ready by 2012 with the recent drafting of the national REDD-plus strategy and action plan. A planning workshop held from 25 to 26 November 2010 allowed various stakeholders and agencies to draft the REDD-plus strategy that will act as a guide for the next two years’ planned activities.

Fiji’s Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Fisheries and Forests, Ms Penina Cirikiyasawa, officially opened the meeting. She explained that adopting a comprehensive and holistic approach that takes into account other sectoral issues, such as forest biodiversity, poverty, gender and the meaningful involvement of landowners, is important for the sustainable implementation of REDD-plus. She highlighted the need for a proper land use planning process for REDD-plus activities in order to address other land use demands.

Ms Penina Cirkiyasawa, Deputy Secretary, Fiji Ministry of Fisheries and ForestsThe development of the REDD-plus strategy follows closely the development of Fiji’s REDD Policy that is expected to be endorsed before the end of this year. Ms Cirikiyasawa said that the policy will provide the guiding principles for developing the REDD strategy and action plan.

Ms Eleni Tokaduadua, Principal Environment Officer of the Fiji Department of Environment, commended the consultative process and urged participants to also consider other environmental agreements and commitments, such as the United Nations (UN) Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). REDD-plus is recognised in the CBD negotiations because of its potential role in conserving biodiversity and promoting sustainable forest management. The need to safeguard the interests of local resource owners is also emphasised in CBD negotiations.

Fiji’s REDD-plus strategy has two major components: one addressing policy issues and the other the measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) process. Policy issues include the identification of financing opportunities and strategies, addressing the drivers of forest carbon loss, maximising benefits to landowners, and elaborating a governance structure to promote transparency and accountability. Stakeholders at the meeting recognised the need for close collaboration and partnership among various sectors in order to successfully address the current drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.

MRV issues and activities include the development of an accepted national assessment methodology and monitoring procedure for forest area and carbon stock change, the identification of suitable REDD-plus activity types, and capacity development for the implementation of REDD-plus. In both components, the need for committed decision-makers and practitioners to participate in REDD-plus international policy processes and negotiations is seen as an important capacity building strategy.

The draft REDD-plus strategy and action plan will go through final stakeholder consultations in early 2011.  The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)/German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) Programme on Adaptation to Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region is working in close collaboration with the Fiji Forestry Department in its REDD-readiness preparations.

For documents and presentations from the workshop, go to:

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