BAF be­gins work on In­va­sive Alien Species project

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The Biose­cu­rity Au­thor­ity of Fiji (BAF) with its part­ner im­ple­ment­ing agency Fiji Multi-Coun­try Of­fice has be­gan prepara­tory work on se­cur­ing US$3.5 mil­lion (FJ$7.27m) from the Global En­vi­ron­men­tal Fa­cil­ity (GEF) for its four year project to build na­tional ca­pac­ity to man­age in­va­sive alien species, in par­tic­u­lar the Gi­ant In­va­sive Iguana (GII) on Tave­uni, Qamea, Lau­cala and Matagi Is­lands. In June 2015, the GEF Coun­cil had ap­proved the con­cept doc­u­ment for US$3.5 mil­lion for the project “Build­ing Ca­pac­i­ties to Ad­dress In­va­sive Alien Species to En­hance the Chances of Long-Term Sur­vival of Ter­res­trial En­demic and Threat­ened Species on Tave­uni Is­land and Sur­round­ing Islets”. BAF Ex­ec­u­tive Chair­man Xavier Riyaz Khan said BAF with its part­ner im­ple­ment­ing agency ap­pointed three in­ter­na­tional con­sul­tants to as­sist in pre­par­ing project doc­u­ment. Ac­cord­ing to Mr Khan, these con­sul­tants will work on com­pi­la­tion of base­line in­for­ma­tion on ac­tiv­i­ties and re­sources al­ready com­mit­ted to in­va­sive alien species man­age­ment by BAF and other stake­hold­ers, and the prepa­ra­tion of bud­gets, work plans and stake­holder en­gage­ment strate­gies.

“The first mis­sion of the in­ter­na­tional con­sul­tant team was early this month where they meet with a va­ri­ety of stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing rel­e­vant Gov­ern­ment min­istries, re­search in­tu­itions and NGOs,” he said. “BAF would like to thank all stake­hold­ers for par­tic­i­pat­ing in the con­sul­ta­tion process. Other stake­hold­ers will also be in­vited to the next round of con­sul­ta­tion process. “The con­sul­tants also con­ducted a field trip to the is­lands of Tave­uni Qamea, Lau­cala and Matagi Is­lands vis­it­ing sites where GII have been de­tected and con­sult­ing with lo­cal BAF staff and vil­lages about trends in GII num­bers and the con­trol and erad­i­ca­tion strate­gies that are cur­rently be­ing used,” Mr Khan said. The con­sul­tants will re­turn soon to present the draft com­po­nents of the project doc­u­ment in­clud­ing the out­comes, out­puts and in­di­ca­tors for feed­back and fur­ther de­tailed dis­cus­sions with BAF. Mr Khan said in­va­sive alien species par­tic­u­larly the Gi­ant In­va­sive Iguana was a great con­cern to Fiji as it poses threat to bio­di­ver­sity and our agri­cul­tural ex­ports. “The Fi­jian Gov­ern­ment through BAF has in­vested huge sum of money in try­ing to erad­i­cate the GII and the fund­ing from GEF would fur­ther en­hance the cur­rent ef­forts of erad­i­ca­tion of the pest,” he said.

In­ter­na­tional Con­sul­tants with BAF Project Of­fi­cer GII Ma­teo Rakesa dur­ing the field visit on Qamea Is­land

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