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.

SPC - Japan collaboration for better forestry sector in region
Monday, 07 March 2011 11:57

 

Dr Abe with DDG and Sairusi

The Land Resources Division (LRD) of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) has, for the first time, collaborated with the Japanese government to assist the forestry sector in the Pacific region.

 

The recent attachment of Dr Hitofumi Abe to LRD’s Forest and Trees Programme, made possible through Fiji/Japan bilateral arrangements, marked the beginning of a strong regional partnership between SPC and the Government of Japan to provide technical support to the forestry sector in Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs).

 

Dr Abe has extensive experience working on forestry in the Pacific region. He worked as the siviculture expert for the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Papua New Guinea from 1995 to 2000 and as JICA Chief Advisor on the Management of National Parks and Reserves Project in Samoa from 2007 to 2010. He obtained his PhD in tropical forest ecology from the University of Western Australia in 2007.

In his courtesy call to the Office of the Deputy Director-General of SPC last Tuesday, 1 March 2011, the JICA Assistant Resident Representative in Fiji, Mr Masahiro Ito, said that JICA is very pleased to be working with SPC; it signifies another milestone in their work to extend their assistance to PICTs.

‘This is the first time we have supported the forestry programme through SPC and therefore we look forward to a successful partnership. This partnership will also form a good platform for future collaboration and assistance.’

Mr Ito stated that JICA is also willing to take a collaborative approach with SPC donor partners to get maximum output that will be beneficial for PICTs.

‘I look forward to Dr Abe’s expertise, especially in the forestry sector,’ said SPC Deputy Director-General, Ms Fekita ‘Utoikamanu.

‘I believe Dr Abe’s inclusion in our team is very timely, since this year we look forward to preparing our joint country strategy with Papua New Guinea and his experience there will assist us,’ she added.

Similar sentiments were expressed by the acting Director of LRD, Mr Inoke Ratukalou, while officially receiving Dr Abe during his courtesy call. ‘We are really happy and very fortunate that JICA is supportive of our initiative in the forestry sector.

‘This is a new partnership for LRD-SPC and we fully appreciate the good will of the Japanese government,’ Mr Ratukalou said.

In his capacity as the JICA Regional Expert, Dr Abe has confirmed their commitment to support the establishment of the Regional Tree Seed Centre in SPC with state-of-the-art equipment for its operation.

His work with SPC will be mainly on forest monitoring, using remote sensing technologies as part of the REDD-readiness programme (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation), protected area management, conservation and management of forest genetic resources, and management of invasive plant species.

[Ends]

(For further information please contact Vinesh Prasad on telephone (679)3370733 or email LRD Help Desk on email 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