DFO West Amelia Waqanibeqa on the Understanding the Fiji National REDD+ Programme workshop held in November 2016. The Secretariat asked of her views on the workshop and this is what she had to say.
1. How did you find the two days workshop on Understanding REDD+? I am thankful that REDD+ awareness was mainstreamed down to Divisional Level. Those two days was an eye opening for us, we were able to supplement our existing knowledge of SFM and Climate change to another level. The two days program also offers an opportunity for stakeholders to collaborate, integrate ideas and views on Climate change. We were able to re-realise our potential as drivers of SFM, Climate change and REDD+ to the community that we serve.
2. How useful do you find REDD+ to your area of work? After the workshop I realised that REDD+ activities covers almost 80% of the Forestry Departments work which ranges from Silviculture to Reforestation and to Sustainable Forest Harvesting. Its contributes to the achievement of the goals of Fiji Forest Policy and the National Development plan. If we adapt to the REDD+ program policy we at the Division will be able to contribute effectively to economic, social and environmental benefits of the community that we serve.
3. Do you have any plans this year to incorporate REDD+ with the plans and activities of Forestry work in the Western Division? Our major focus now is to create extensive awareness on REDD+ to the Western Division. We will incorporate this into our Unit plant. ie to create awareness to villagers, (Yasawa, Ra & Nadroga) Sawmillers and Logging contractors.
4. Are there any possible sites in the West into which REDD+ activities can be implemented? We anticipating of conducting awareness in the Yasawa groups and the Mamanucas and if possible draw up major Reforestation & Afforestation program for the whole group. This could be a best site, because of its locality logging of our established forest will be uneconomical. One of the major issues in the islands now is 'water". Their major source of income is tourism and rise in sea level is becoming a threat to them now. Most villages are already staring up their own programs of Climate Change.
5. What do you think of the Divisional Working Group concept? Its set up and what is going to be set up to do? The concept is a great idea but we are yet to conduct another meeting with the Commissioner to advice him of the appointed committee and the activities that is required of us.
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