Forest and Trees

Forests and trees play significant roles in the lives of Pacific Islanders, economically, socially, culturally and environmentally. In many Pacific island countries, especially on the smaller islands and atolls, agroforestry and tree crops provide most of the food, medicines, construction materials, firewood, tools and myriad of other products and services that cannot be replaced with imported substitutions. For the larger countries, forests have contributed significantly into their economic development in terms of foreign exchange earnings, employment and infrastructure development. Thus, a major challenge for Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) is to ensure sustainable management of their scarce and diminishing forest and tree resources, taking into account demands for economic development and the social and environmental needs of their growing populations, LRD-SPC is addressing this under its Forest & Tree programme.

Balanced forest policies and strategies are needed for sustainable development
Monday, 12 May 2014 12:23
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), in collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is running an eleven (11-day) Executive Forest Policy course in Nadi, Fiji.

The course, which is the seventh to be organised in the Asia Pacific region, was opened earlier today by Fiji’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests, Lieutenant Colonel Inia Seruiratu.

In his keynote address Minister Seruiratu said that the course provides an excellent opportunity for senior government officials in the region to enhance their policy analysis capability through their in-depth understanding of critical economic, social and environmental issues at the national, regional and global levels.

‘It is common knowledge that climate change is already causing dramatic changes globally, particularly in the small island states, including in the Pacific, which are considered to be some of the most vulnerable places on earth to the adverse effects of climate change,’ Mr Seruiratu said.

‘In fact, climate change is recognised as the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of the peoples of the Pacific.’

He added that the important role of forests in mitigating climate change through carbon sequestration and carbon sink is well recognised.

‘In addition, forests will be important in ensuring that our Pacific communities are able to adapt to the impacts of climate change because of the many services and products they contribute to our well-being,’ Mr Seruiratu said.

However, he added, this can only be achieved if our forests are managed in a sustainable manner.

‘The Government of Fiji recognises the potential of forestry as a major potential foreign exchange earner that can also provide rural employment, regular income and infrastructure development that promote rural stability towards improving rural living standards.

‘Thus, it is the mandate of my ministry to ensure that these valuable resources are developed and managed to their optimal potential for the benefit of all stakeholders, in a sustainable way.’

Minister Seruiratu further mentioned that the major challenge is how to mainstream sound forest policies into the sustainable development strategies of the country, taking into account demands for economic development and the social and environmental needs of growing populations.

He therefore urged all the participants to take advantage of the opportunity and participate actively in the discussion and share experiences to help their countries and also the region to develop broad-based practical and implementable policies that will effectively support efforts to achieve the goal of sustainable management of the region’s forest resources.

‘We need to be innovative in our ideas and come up with strategies that are going to ensure a very balanced approach to our development. I am hoping that through this course, you will be able to broaden your knowledge to help you come up with new ideas and strategies towards integrating forestry into your overall national sustainable development strategies,’ Mr Seruiratu said.

Minister Seruiratu also challenged the participants to focus not only on issues facing our region but also opportunities that are present to come up with better solutions.

‘It’s time that officials in both the agriculture and forestry ministries start to focus beyond the problems and come up with solutions that will not only benefit the current generation but future generations as well.’

The 7th forest policy course will conclude on 23 May and has been supported by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Lowering Emissions in Asia’s Forests (LEAF), the European Forest Institute (EFI), the EU/FAO Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade programme (EU/FAO FLEGT), and the Asia Pacific Association of Forestry Research Institutions (APAFRI).

[Ends]

You can watch Minister's full address via youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdTGsS3KLyM

(For more information, please contact Mr Vinesh Prasad, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it --- +679 3370773, alternatively, for any further queries, you may contact the LRD helpdesk This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .)

 

We acknowledge our major donors/partners in supporting Forestry initiatives in the Pacific