Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fiji committed to combatting land degradation

18 October,  Changwon Korea - Fiji is serious about their commitment to reducing land degradation. 
This was made clear during the United Nations General Assembly in September; the Prime Minister of Fiji, Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainamarama, outlined the important role of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification for the island nation.
“We must encourage the donor community and the United Nations system to continue to address the needs of more than one billion inhabitants of dry lands by encouraging appropriate investments to contribute to achieving the internationally agreed development goals include the Millennium Development Goals,” presented the Prime Minister.
“In this regard, we should promote awareness and support the exchange of best practices based on lessons learned, and to mobilise adequate and predictable financial resources for these investments.”
Osea Bolawaqatabu the Director for Land Resources Planning and Development of the Department of Agricultre in Fiji is attending the 10th Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD in Changwon Korea this week.  He is pleased by the pledge of support made by the Prime Minister at the United Nations General Assembly.

“If there is to be mainstreaming of sustainable land management practices in Fiji, the political will must be in place,” he said.
“In this global era of escalating crisis and economic downturn where governments are striving to implement bailout policies with little attention to the potential of the land and soil it is crucial and important to highlight our commitment of being a county party to the UNCCD.”
The land and water resource management decree is now undergoing a final round of legal drafting and vetting with the office of the Solicitor General of Fiji before being submitted for cabinet endorsement next month.
“This will assist in the implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification in Fiji since it will ensure Government will allocate resources in the fight against land degradation.”
During the COP 10, discussions have been underway between Fiji, the Global Mechanism, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the United Nations Development Programme Fiji Country Office on the development of the UNCCD National Action Plan for Fiji.  It will be combined with their Integrated Financial Strategy to raise financial resources for activities related to the Sustainable Land Management Project. 
The National Action Plan will be aligned to the 10 year strategy of the UNCCD.
“In brief, this Nactional Action Plan will be the key instrument that carries out the UNCCD work in Fiji.  It will spell out the practical steps and measures for Fiji to take to combat land degradation,” said Bolawaqatabu.
“The formulation of our NAP will start next month and will be completed and presented to cabinet for endorsement in February next year.”
“It’s an exciting time ahead for the implementation of UNCCD in Fiji."
The 10th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is held in Changwon, Korea from 10 - 21 October, 2011.

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