26 April 2012, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva
About 30 people, representing ten Pacific Island countries (PICs) and regional organisations, are currently attending a meeting to discuss the Pacific Regional Policy Framework that will facilitate PICs’ access to support under REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) funding possibilities.
This support will enable the PICs to better manage their forest and tree resources.
The meeting’s discussions are focusing on a first draft of the policy framework, which was developed after initial national consultations held earlier this year in Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Tuvalu.
In opening the three-day meeting at the Novotel Hotel in Lami, Fiji, Inoke Ratukalou, Acting Director of SPCs Land Resources Division, said that this consultation is directly responding to the 2009 Heads of Forestry Meeting recommendation that SPC support the formulation of a regional policy framework for REDD+.
‘I am fully aware of the complexity of REDD+ and also the various concerns that countries raised when we held the initial national consultations,’ he said.
‘We have tried to take all these concerns on board when putting together the first draft,’ he added.
He urged all participants to provide frank, objective and honest views about the draft framework so that they develop a document that truly reflects the wishes of the countries, and adequately supports them all in accessing benefits under REDD+.
‘We are hopeful that, together, we will effectively improve the document before it is passed on to the drafting committee,’ Ratukalou said.
The drafting committee will work on the document, and a final draft is expected to be submitted to the meetings of the Heads of Agriculture and Forests and the Ministers of Agriculture and Forests in September this year for their deliberation and endorsement.
The process to develop the Pacific Regional Policy framework for REDD+ is funded by Germany’s International Climate Initiative through the SPC-GIZ ‘Climate Protection through Forest Conservation in Pacific Island Countries’ Project.
The project’s Programme Director and Senior Adviser, Karl P. Kirsch, said that the Regional Policy Framework should not only give orientation to the national REDD programmes of larger forested PICs, but also identify the support needed to manage the tree resources in smaller island states.
The consultation concludes on Thursday 26 April with a field visit to the REDD+ pilot site in Nakavu. (Central Viti Levu) in Fiji.
(For further information please contact Vinesh Prasad of SPCs Land Resources Division on telephone 679-3370733 or email to LRD helpdesk -