The REDD+ Steering Committee is a multi-stakeholder committee comprised of representatives from the key stakeholder groups identified as being relevant for REDD+. The different agencies and structures are responsible for incorporating REDD+ activities into their organizational planning and budget and thus ensuring REDD+ activities are supported through the different sectoral agencies. Members who attend the REDD+ Steering Committee meetings are required make decisions on behalf of their Departments and organisations. Of the current 18 members, 7 are female.
The overarching function of the Fiji National REDD+ Steering Committee is to “coordinate and facilitate the implementation of the Fiji REDD+ programme”.
In fulfilling its function, the national REDD+ steering committee will ensure that a transparent and effective multi-stakeholder governance process is followed and that the safeguards identified under policy statement 5.1 (Fiji REDD-Plus Policy, 2011) are considered.
The roles of the member agencies and organizations are listed below:
1. The Forestry Department (FD) is the lead agency and national REDD+ focal point. The FD, under the Ministry of Fisheries and Forests, is the lead agency for REDD+ in Fiji and in charge of overall REDD+ coordination and implementation. The Conservator of Forests approves all REDD+ Project proposals and activities after consulting with the SC. The Forestry Department is currently implementing the “Strengthening REDD+ Readiness Project,” which includes a Fiji REDD+ Project Coordinator.
2. The Ministry of Economy is the national focal point for UNFCCC and lead negotiator in international climate change meetings. The Ministry of Economy supports the Forestry Department in lobbying for Fiji’s REDD+ agenda in international meetings, provides international policy support and helps establish relationships and networks with other countries. Both the Forestry Department and Ministry of Economy are engaged with REDD+ financing and technical development partners.
3. The Ministry of iTaukei Affairs is responsible for developing and promoting policies to ensure good governance and welfare of the iTaukei. This Ministry strives to ensure that the rights and interests of the iTaukei are safeguarded in the REDD+ process.
4. The iTaukei Land Trust Board are the custodians of iTaukei land in the country. Almost 90% of land in Fiji is customary owned. The Board provides guidance on the use of iTaukei land and represents the interests of iTaukei landowners on land dealings.
5. The Department of Environment is the national focal point for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This is the lead agency in ensuring biodiversity is protected and monitored at the national level.
6. The Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources looks after State land including mangroves. This Department hosts the Land Bank where landowners can “deposit” their land to be invested by the Department on their behalf. The Ministry provides guidance on the use of State land and on land deposited in the Land Bank. The Ministry is also responsible for regulating the exploration and development of Fiji’s mineral, petroleum and other related non-living resources of the country.
7. The Ministry of Agriculture is the lead agency for the agricultural sector and is the national focal point for UNCCD. The department guides the development and implementation of agriculture policies and incentives to support REDD+ strategies. Given that agriculture is the main cause for deforestation in Fiji, the department plays an important role in addressing this issue.
8. The Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management is responsible for administering government activities at the Provincial & community level. The Provincial Administrators are close to the ground and will support the coordination and monitoring of REDD+ pilot site activities.
9. Representatives of non-governmental organisations carrying out REDD+ activities contribute to the development of national-scale M&E, provide inputs into guidelines on safeguards, ensure compliance of national procedures and contribute to exchange of experiences and lessons learned. The NGOs have combined to form a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Platform which is chaired by the Soqosoqo Vakamarama and supported by Nature Fiji-Mareqeti Viti, Live & Learn,
10. Private forestry sector (timber industry) plays an important role in reducing forest degradation and in the implementation of the Fiji Harvesting Code of Practice.
11. Fiji Pine Limited is a public enterprise and one of the largest plantation industries in Fiji. The company will support and identify opportunities for REDD+ activities pertaining to plantations.
12. Fiji Hardwood Corporation Limited owns majority of the mahogany plantations in Fiji. The company will support and identify opportunities for REDD+ activities pertaining to plantations.
13. REDD+ resource owner representatives ensure that landowner rights and interests are addressed as most of Fiji’s forests are owned by indigenous communities.
14. The Pacific Community (SPC) is the regional intergovernmental organisation providing technical and policy support in the area of forestry other and land use sectors. It hosts the SPC/GIZ Regional REDD+ Project and the SPC/GIZ Coping with climate change in the Psacific Island Region programme, SPC will also host a regional REDD+ information portal and facilitate regional south-south cooperation.
15. The University of the South Pacific (USP) is a regional University. The Institute of Applied Sciences of USP provides technical, research and policy support in the area of biodiversity assessments and monitoring.
16. Fiji National University (FNU) is a local University. The College of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry provides technical, research and policy support in terms of forests.
17. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) provides technical and policy support for entire REDD+ Readiness process.