Monday, 01 October 2012 11:08
The 3rd Regional Meeting of Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry, convened by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community on 28 September 2012 in Nadi, Fiji, endorsed the Pacific Islands Regional Policy Framework for REDD+.
The framework was developed at the request of the regional Heads of Forestry meeting in 2009, to support Pacific Island countries (PICs) to address and participate in international regimes on greenhouse gas emission reduction in the forest and trees sector, commonly called: REDD+ (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and forest Degradation PLUS forest conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks).
The policy framework was drafted following a national and regional multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder consultation process, including policy dialogue, workshops and submissions to the draft. This process was supported through the SPC/GIZ (German Agency for International Cooperation) regional project Climate Protection through Forest Conservation in Pacific Islands Countries funded by the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Environment Ministry.
This Pacific Islands Regional Policy Framework for REDD+ is designed to provide options to guide national REDD+ programme development in the four larger Melanesian countries (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu), which are preparing themselves to receive performance-based payments from national-scale accounted emission reductions.
It supports a ‘no regrets’ approach to REDD+ that keeps options open to engage with possible future global instruments currently in development, whilst taking advantage of mechanisms already available. Smaller PICs could benefit from such a project-based, site-specific approach to REDD+.
The proposed regional cooperation and support structures for the advancement of the forestry sector will also benefit all countries in the Pacific Island region.
The REDD+ policy framework comes with the understanding that forest-related mitigation measures in the Pacific Island region will have a range of non-carbon co-benefits associated with sustainable forest management, such as biodiversity conservation, adaptation to climate change and enhancement of livelihoods of Pacific Island communities.
The Fiji REDD-Plus (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation + enhancing and increasing carbon stocks) policy was launched in Suva on Wednesday, 9 March 2010 by Mr Viliame Naupoto, the Fiji Permanent Secretary for Fisheries and Forests and also Chairman of the Fiji National Climate Change Country Team. The launch was held at the Holiday Inn and was attended by guests from several sectors and agencies.
Mr Naupoto described the event as a momentous one, and he congratulated the many stakeholders on their achievement of developing the policy. The policy will contribute towards strengthening the country’s efforts to manage forest resources sustainably, while at the same time mitigating climate change. Mr Naupoto also highlighted the important side benefits of REDD-Plus initiatives, such as the protection and enhancement of ecosystem services provided by forests. These services include the provision of clean water, wild edible plants, fertile soil and sources of livelihood.
The Fiji REDD-Plus policy was formally endorsed by cabinet in December 2010 after a comprehensive stakeholder consultation process that began with its first drafting in September 2009. The policy will be implemented through a national REDD-Plus programme that will aim at putting in place supporting institutional and legal frameworks to ensure transparency, good governance and observance of safeguards, such as protection of the rights of indigenous resource owners. The national REDD-Plus programme will also address technical components of REDD-Plus, such as the establishment of a forest carbon monitoring system.
Speaking on the implementation of REDD-Plus, the Director of the Fiji Department of Environment, Mr Jope Davetanivalu, highlighted the synergies that will be created with the other Rio conventions such as the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Department of Environment is one of the key stakeholders in REDD-Plus and collaboration with the Forestry Department has been strengthened in the last two years with the Forestry Department joining the Fiji negotiation team as lead REDD-Plus resource persons at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meetings.
Also present at the launch was the Fiji Principal Cultural Development Officer, Adi Meretui Ratunabuabua, who noted the policy provisions for safeguarding indigenous rights and commented that this provision aligns with national, regional and international frameworks on indigenous knowledge and culture. She urged that the implementation process also consider these frameworks.
The Fiji REDD-Plus initiative is supported through the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) Regional Programme — Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region. In his address to the guests, Dr Hermann Fickinger, Programme Director for GIZ, said that the policy was developed through constructive teamwork and cooperation, reflecting the healthy partnerships and collaborations existing among stakeholders. The successful partnership between SPC, GIZ and the Fiji Forestry Department was forged over two decades of development cooperation, and it continues through the Fiji REDD-Plus programme.
The Fiji REDD-Plus Policy can be downloaded from http://www.spc.int/lrd/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=211...
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).
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