BAF begins work on Invasive Alien Species project
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