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  • Writer's pictureNational Federation Party - Fiji

Response to Ministerial Statement by Minister for Forests - Gvt Efforts post COVID19 & TC Harold

Wednesday 27th May 2020

Response to the Ministerial Statement by Minister for Forests regarding Government efforts in the Forestry Sector post COVID19 and T.C Harold.

Thank you Mr Speaker, I thank the Hon Minister for his statement.

Honourable Speaker, I believe the last time the Hon Minister updated this august House I had raised some issues with regard to the full and active participation of landowners in regards to the use of their forestry resources.

I note that the Govt has revived with gusto the desire to plant 15M trees. That is welcome, and I understand the Drawa community is or, by now WAS benefiting from Qantas purchasing carbon credits from them. It is funny that this august House has had NO EYES over how that project is managed or being regulated.

I note that in April 2020, Conservation International put out a commissioned report on REDD+ Emissions Reduction Program "Benefit Sharing Plan". Unsurprisingly the matrices in the document LEAD with the private sector as beneficiaries. This is where the problem lies.

On this issue, NFP has stated before that cues must be taken from the Fair Share of Mineral Royalties Act passed last year, and we need to see an amended and expanded Bill for native and freehold landowners, to capture Forest Carbon Rights AND Blue Carbon encompassing of landowner governed mangroves, salt-marshes and sea-grasses. Again, I stress that this is something that the Government of Germany via GIZ should aggressively support as it has done all these past years!!

In the April report by Conservation International I note that some of the issues we highlighted have been addressed, BUT the Minister MUST tell us how the DRAFT Climate Change Bill for which all the hype around seems to have finished into thin air, and his Ministry's Forest Bill, all align SEAMLESSLY so that there is no duplication or overlaps of oversight.

I am expecting the Minister to table that soon as well as an explanation to the people about the Conservation International report.

I thank you.

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