The SPC/GIZ regional project Climate Protection through Forestry Conservation in Pacific Island Countries was mandated by the Pacific Heads of Forestry at their technical meeting in September 2011 to develop a regional policy framework guiding the implementation of REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation).
In February and March, a study tour was conducted to meet with stakeholders in Tonga, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu and Fiji and gather their views about the content of such a framework.
Mr Cenon Padolina, Forest Genetic Resource Officer in SPC’s Land Resources Division, said in his introductory remarks at the Fiji consultation that national consultations in a number of countries, representing the diversity that we have in the Pacific, are the first step of the roadmap for the development of the policy framework.
‘As a result of these consultations, our expert will produce a first draft of the policy framework that will be further deliberated during a regional consultation meeting that will be held in Suva from 24–26 April. We aim to submit a final draft to the Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services and Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry Meeting in September this year.’
‘We would like to stress the importance of ensuring that the whole process is fully consultative so that the final document is relevant, realistic, practical and implementable for the benefit of all countries,’ said Mr. Padolina.
Explaining the background to this initiative, Padolina said that in 2009, SPC organised a Pacific Heads of Forestry meeting in Nadi with the theme Forests and Climate Change, recognising the important role that forests play in terms of both mitigation and adaption to climate change.
This meeting produced a number of recommendations regarding REDD+, mandating SPC to support the formulation of a regional policy framework for REDD+ in the Pacific that would enable all countries to benefit in areas appropriate to individual countries and enhancing the coordination of climate change mitigation activities in the region.
‘This recognised the fact that, while there are the large Melanesian countries that can bilaterally secure support and directly benefit from REDD+, there are also many small countries that may not be able to benefit directly, but are in need of support for the better management and use of their forests.'
'It is hoped that the proposed regional policy framework will act as an umbrella to make such arrangements possible,’ explained Mr Padolina.
To develop regional and national policies as well as institutional capacity for the implementation of REDD+, SPC-LRD received support from Germany’s International Climate Initiative for this project, which is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
(For more information, please contact Mr. Vinesh Prasad on 679-3370733 or the LRD Helpdesk (firstname.lastname@example.org ))