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Pacific islanders highlight importance of sustainable forests

(Xinhua)

10:55, September 22, 2011

SUVA, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) stressed on Wednesday that sustainable use and management of forests and tree resources will remain its important focus for the foreseeable future.

Sairusi Bulai, a forestry team coordinator of SPC's Land Resources Division (LRD) told a regional workshop currently underway in Fiji's western tourist city of Nadi that "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 Program has undertaken in the Pacific earlier this year," he added.

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. They 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.

The UN-REDD Program is a collaborative partnership of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to support countries in the preparation of this mechanism.

Bulai encouraged participants to take advantage of the excellent opportunity to discuss REDD+ experiences in the region 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, he said.

Bulai, meanwhile, 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.

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