Wednesday, 21 September 2011 13:54
Sustainable use and management of forests and tree resources will remain an important focus of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Land Resources Division (LRD) for the foreseeable future.
Sairusi Bulai, SPC LRD Forestry Team Coordinator, made these comments while officially opening the Pacific workshop on regional support to REDD+ Readiness in Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs), held in Nadi, Fiji on 19 September 2011.
‘REDD+ is a new international mechanism to compensate developing countries for reducing their rate of deforestation and forest degradation and increasing their carbon stocks. Developing countries participate on a voluntary basis.’
Developed countries provide technical and financial assistance to enable eligible countries to meet the requirements for future participation. Once a country begins participating, it receives compensation for its verified reduction in carbon emission from forest activities.
‘Our main issue was and continues to be the lack of adequate resources to enable countries to effectively implement sustainable forest management. Therefore, we are very fortunate that we have this opportunity to discuss findings and recommendations of the mission, which the UN-REDD Programme has undertaken in the Pacific earlier this year,’ Mr Bulai said. The UN-REDD Programme is a collaborative partnership of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to support countries in the preparation of this mechanism.
He encouraged participants to take advantage of the excellent opportunity to discuss REDD+ experiences in the PICTs and to link up with the experts in attendance.
‘REDD+ gives an excellent opportunity to create better awareness and understanding amongst all stakeholders, including resource owners, so that informed decisions are made to avoid exploitation,’ Mr Bulai said.
Because of the large investments required, not every country will be able to benefit from the mechanism. However, the engagement of SPC should lead to cost efficiency stemming from greater cooperation among the PICTs, allowing the smaller ones with limited forest and tree resources to benefit from the provision of services on the regional.
Mr Bulai also stressed on the critical importance of multi-sectoral as well as multi-stakeholder based approaches to forest management to effectively reduce deforestation and forest degradation.
45 participants have attended the two-day workshop that was being supported by German Development Cooperation (GIZ), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the UN-REDD Programme.
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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.
A delegation of ten people from Solomon Islands is on a one-week study tour in Fiji to meet key stakeholders involved in the Fiji’s REDD+ (reducing emission through deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries) readiness programme.
Inoke Ratukalou – Director of SPCs Land Resources Division – met the delegation at SPC Nabua and encouraged them to take full advantage of this initiative.
‘The main objective of this study tour is to increase your awareness of REDD+ and strengthen the capacity of Solomon Islands to develop a national approach.
‘More specifically, it is hoped that the study tour will help key stakeholders in Solomon Islands understand a number of key policy and operational areas, including: (a) how to balance project level voluntary market interests and approaches to REDD+ at the national level; (b) how structures and systems for monitoring a national framework of safeguards can be developed and maintained; and (c) how to develop approaches to REDD+ that are workable with customary landowners.’
Ratukalou added that Fiji was chosen for this study tour because of its close proximity to Solomon Islands, the similar socio-economic conditions and Fiji’s advancement in terms of REDD+ readiness.
‘Fiji has developed its REDD+ policy, it has assessed its national carbon stock and has also done some work with financing guidelines and reference emission levels.’
Ratukalou expressed his appreciation to the Fiji REDD+ Secretariat and the Steering Committee, and also to the Fiji Forestry Department, the University of the South Pacific, Conservation International and Live and Learn Environmental Education, whose representatives held briefings for the delegation on Monday and Tuesday this week. On Wednesday they are going on a field trip to Draubuta, where the landowners will share their forestry experiences with the delegation. Visits to Fiji Pine Limited (Lololo Pine Station) and Tropik Woods Industry are also on the agenda for the delegation.
The tour is being funded by UN-REDD programme and is facilitated by the Forest and Trees Team of SPC’s Land Resources Division in collaboration with the Fiji Forestry Department and the SPC/GIZ Coping with Climate Change Project in the Pacific Island Region.
The second round of consultations on the development of the Fiji REDD-plus (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation + enhancing and increasing of carbon stocks) strategy was held in Suva, Fiji on Tuesday 08 March 2011. Invited stakeholders from various sectors reviewed the first draft and deliberated on strategic actions necessary for Fiji to implement REDD+ and to allow it to access appropriate financing mechanisms.The REDD-plus strategy was first drafted in a 2-day workshop held in November 2010.
Mr Sairusi Bulai, Forest and Trees Adviser of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, officially opened the workshop reminding participants of their valuable contributions to allow for the implementation of the national REDD-plus policy. The REDD-plus policy was endorsed by cabinet in December 2010. Mr Bulai praised the commitment of the participants and their sectors for continuing to support the country’s efforts towards REDD-readiness. Most of the participants have been involved since the inception of the REDD-plus programme in 2009.
The main components of the draft strategy conform to policy statements in the national REDD+ policy. These include the development of REDD+ guidelines including carbon trading, the establishment of credible monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) systems, the establishment and implementation of pilots sites to promote a “learning by doing” approach, and strengthening Fiji’s capacity to negotiate on REDD+ issues at the regional and international policy level.
Featured prominently in discussions was the need to put in place structures to ensure equitable benefits accrue to indigenous forest resource owners. Mr Solomone Nata from the Native Lands Trust Board stressed the need to put in place regulatory frameworks and REDD+ guidelines to ensure transparency and good governance of REDD+ projects. Participants also recognised the need to further develop their capacities to better understand the different facets of REDD+ ranging from technical requirements needed to carry out carbon stock assessments to the international policy processes involving REDD+. These issues will be taken on-board in the drafted REDD-plus strategy. Ms Morena Rigamoto, Live and Learn Fiji country manager, requested the support of relevant agencies to develop technical capacities of non-governmental organisations to implement REDD+ projects, making special mention of MRV systems. Agencies to tap with the technical expertise include the Forestry Department, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) - Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC), and the University of the South Pacific – Institute of Applied Sciences.
The development of the Fiji national REDD-plus policy and the current drafting of the Fiji REDD-plus strategy are supported under the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)/ Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Regional Programme Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region. Under this support it is anticipated that Fiji will be REDD-ready by 2012.
The report of the strategy workshop conducted in November 2010 can be downloaded from this link: 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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A consultation workshop on the Emalu Fiji REDD+ pilot site was held at Holiday Inn, Suva on 15 January 2013. Emalu is the Fiji REDD+ Pilot site and is located in the Province of Navosa, in the interior of Viti Levu.Landowners of the Emalu REDD+ pilot site
The consultation workshop brought together all the Emalu mataqali (clan) members and various stakeholders to discuss the implementation of REDD+ requirements in Emalu. More than 50 members of the Emalu mataqali, young and old, came from all over Viti Levu to participate in the one-day workshop. Resource persons came from the Forestry Department, SPC/GIZ (German Agency for International Cooperation) Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region (CCCPIR) Programme, the University of the South Pacific’s Institute of Applied Science (IAS), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation – Climate Change Unit, the Department of Agriculture, the Nadroga/Navosa Provincial Office, and Live and Learn Environmental Education.
The Conservator of Forests, Samuela Lagataki, opened the workshop by reminding landowners of the importance of their active involvement in the REDD+ project. He urged the mataqali members to work together with the stakeholders to meet the requirements of the project. These include the protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services, the full and active participation of the mataqali members and their relatives who use the forests, and ensuring security for the long-term implementation of the project. Mr Lagataki also emphasised the importance of forests, not only as carbon pools but also as providers of valuable ecosystem services, such as clean water.
Marika Tuiwawa, Curator of the Regional Herbarium at IAS, said that a biological survey of the Emalu REDD+ pilot indicates that the site hosts some of the richest biodiversity of flora and fauna in Fiji. Some of the species in the site hold very high cultural significance and are extremely rare, not only in Fiji, but globally as well. The onus is on everyone to help protect this rich biodiversity.
Emalu mataqali womenThe group work sessions assessed the obstacles and difficulties in meeting the REDD+ project requirements and defined actions and strategies to address them.
Speaking on behalf of the mataqali, an emotional Mere Ratubasa, who travelled all the way from the Yawasa Islands, expressed gratitude for the support from the National REDD+ Programme. She acknowledged and thanked the organisers for a very informative and constructive workshop. They were greatly enlightened and learnt new things on the status and value of their mataqali forest. She assured the stakeholders that the mataqali would support the implementation of the REDD+ project.
In closing the workshop, the Assistant Provincial Officer, Rusiate Raidaveta, urged the mataqali members to work together in unity and communicate openly, as the progress of the project will depend on this.
The workshop was organised by the SPC/GIZ CCCPIR and the Fiji Forestry Department.
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Addressing the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation is a fundamental requirement for the success of REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation; conservation, sustainable management of forests, enhancement of carbon). In Fiji, agriculture is identified as the main driver of deforestation, where large tracts of forest areas are cleared to establish agricultural cash crops (commonly kava and taro).
On 7 June 2013, a REDD+ seminar on the above issue was organised for Nadroga/Navosa Province, where the Fiji REDD+ pilot site is located. The seminar was organised in response to field observations by the REDD+ land-use mapping team that indicated a rapid progression of agricultural clearance into the REDD+ pilot site. This concern is compounded by the fact the Emalu pilot site was identified by USP and local scientists as one of the ‘hottest’ biodiversity spots in the country.
The seminar was held at the Agriculture Research station, Sigatoka, with more than 40 stakeholders participating. Participants included agriculture and research officers, local district representatives, farmers, resource owners, non-governmental organisations, and representatives from the provincial office, the police force and the Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM). Resource persons came from the Land Resource Planning and Development Unit of the Fiji Agriculture Department, the Forestry Department, the University of the South Pacific, Emalu Landowners and the SPC/GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit) programme – Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region (CCCPIR).
The seminar was opened by the Roko Tui Nadroga/Navosa, Viliame Burenivalu. Mr Burenivalu said that the ultimate outcome of any project involving local communities should be the improvement of their living standards and livelihoods. The REDD+ project in Emalu should achieve that outcome.
Discussions on addressing forest clearance issues were very lively and participants came up with actions and strategies to address this. They included the promotion of agroforestry systems, sustainable intensification of farming techniques to maximise production, sustainable land management technologies, diversifying to other crops and produce, improving road conditions to allow for a greater variety of produce to be marketed, and overall proper land-use planning. It was apparent that most of the actions and strategies have been discussed over the years but lacked implementation. Local district officers and agriculture extension officers emphasised the need for regular community REDD+ awareness and educational programmes so that land-users and landowners are aware of their responsibilities. This included awareness on the biological diversity of their forests and the services their forests provide.
Participants expressed their appreciation of the seminar, saying it helped broaden their knowledge of REDD+ and climate change and the linkages to sustainable forest and land use. More such seminars were called for. The seminar was officially closed by Mr Josevata Suka, the Provincial Administrator Nadroga/Navosa.
The workshop was organised by the Land Resources Planning and Development Unit of the Department of Agriculture, the Nacocolevu Agriculture Research Station, the Fiji Forestry Department, and SPC/GIZ CCCCPIR.
SPC and GIZ are supporting Fiji with national REDD+ readiness efforts.