Tree Plant­ing Con­sul­ta­tions to Shift to Ur­ban Ar­eas and In­for­mal Set­tle­ments

Fiji Sun - - MINISTRY OF FORESTRY - Chil­dren are en­cour­aged to par­tic­i­pate in the 30Mil­lionTreesI­n15Years.

Con­sul­ta­tions on Fiji’s 30 Mil­lion Trees in 15 Years (30MT15Y) tree-plant­ing ini­tia­tive will take a slight shift to­wards the ur­ban ar­eas and in­for­mal set­tle­ments around the coun­try.

This is af­ter the Min­is­ter for Forestry Osea Naiqamu com­pleted vis­it­ing over 200 ru­ral and re­mote vil­lages across the 14 provinces in the past 18 months.

“Tree-plant­ing is one of the tan­gi­ble na­ture-based so­lu­tions to ad­dress­ing cli­mate change, to pro­tect­ing na­ture, and in the post-COVID era, it is also part of our green re­cov­ery mea­sures,” Mr Naiqamu said.

He said the ru­ral and re­mote com­mu­ni­ties have openly em­braced the con­cept of tree-plant­ing.

“They have a deep ap­pre­ci­a­tion for plants and trees be­cause their lives are de­pen­dent mostly on what na­ture pro­vides. It is also be­com­ing an eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment es­pe­cially for those who have cho­sen to es­tab­lish nurs­eries,” he said.

“It is now time to spread the treeplant­ing gospel in the ur­ban ar­eas and in­for­mal set­tle­ments. Even though they may not have easy ac­cess to large tracks of land, their con­tri­bu­tion to Fiji’s tree plant­ing ini­tia­tive us­ing what­ever avail­able land they have – even their back­yards - could still make a huge dif­fer­ence,” Mr Naiqamu said.

The Min­istry of Forestry will be­gin dis­cus­sions with the Min­istries of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and Hous­ing and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment to see how the tree-plant­ing ini­tia­tive could be rolled out in the ur­ban ar­eas and in­for­mal set­tle­ments.

“Tree-plant­ing should not be lim­ited to ru­ral ar­eas. In fact, I would like to en­cour­age the com­mu­ni­ties, es­pe­cially the youth and women’s groups in ur­ban ar­eas and in­for­mal set­tle­ments to be part of the na­tional ini­tia­tive.”

He said Fiji could start pro­mot­ing small ur­ban forests to boost bio­di­ver­sity and fight cli­mate change. “Apart from con­tribut­ing to the beauty of towns and cities, those who have land can even es­tab­lish their own nurs­eries as a form of eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment,” he said. He said that Gov­ern­ment, through the Min­istry of Forestry, could help teach the com­mu­ni­ties the tech­niques of rais­ing seedlings and to help build their nurs­eries.

The im­por­tant thing is for as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble to have a deeper ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the value of trees and forests and to know how tak­ing care of na­ture could as­sist with ad­dress­ing cli­mate change.

The min­is­ter is vis­it­ing Koro Is­land in Lo­maiv­iti this week where, like the other vil­lages, he will pro­mote the im­por­tance of plant­ing trees as part of Fiji’s ef­forts to ad­dress cli­mate change, enhance bio­di­ver­sity and as­sist with so­cioe­co­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

He be­gan his con­sul­ta­tions in the provinces im­me­di­ately af­ter the Pres­i­dent Ma­jor-Gen­eral (Ret’d) Jioji Konusi Kon­rote launched the tree-plant­ing ini­tia­tive at the State House in Jan­uary 2019.

“Vis­it­ing these landown­ers and en­cour­ag­ing them to plant trees has been worth­while as we have man­aged to plant about two mil­lion trees cov­er­ing over 2000 hectares in the past 18 months.

“My vis­its to vil­lages have re­ally been an eye opener and I wish to ac­knowl­edge

Mr Naiqamu said Fiji’s very own teenage cli­mate change war­rior Ti­moci Naulusala, who hails from Naivic­ula Vil­lage in Tailevu, de­scribed the im­pact of cli­mate change in Fiji at the COP 23 in Ger­many in 2017 as like a ‘thief in the night.’

and thank all the landown­ers who have gen­er­ously taken this tree plant­ing on board and even given land to plant trees,” Mr Naiqamu said.

“The com­mu­ni­ties un­der­stand that cli­mate change is not some faroff prob­lem be­cause they are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the ef­fects right at their doorsteps. For in­stance, vil­lagers of Nuku­damu in the dis­trict of Udu in Vanua Levu have had to re­lo­cate in­land due to sea level rise and salt wa­ter in­tru­sion and fre­quent tidal waves as well as the nu­mer­ous trop­i­cal cy­clones.”

Mr Naiqamu said Fiji’s very own teenage cli­mate change war­rior Ti­moci Naulusala, who hails from Naivic­ula Vil­lage in Tailevu, de­scribed the im­pact of cli­mate change in Fiji at the COP 23 in Ger­many in 2017 as like a ‘thief in the night.’

He re­it­er­ated the words of 14-year old Ti­moci who said: “the sea is swal­low­ing vil­lages, eat­ing away at shore­lines, with­er­ing crops. Re­lo­ca­tion of peo­ple, cries over loved ones dy­ing of hunger and thirst. It is cat­a­strophic, it is sad, but it is real.’

Mr Naiqamu said there are many more ex­am­ples of vil­lages he vis­ited that are be­ing af­fected by cli­mate change.

“This is why it is im­por­tant to pro­mote tree-plant­ing to every cit­i­zen of Fiji. We plant trees to­day for the fu­ture of our gen­er­a­tions to come. This is why we also need to en­cour­age peo­ple in the ur­ban ar­eas and in­for­mal set­tle­ments,” he said. Mr Naiqamu is call­ing on Fi­jians to plant trees and to post their in­for­ma­tion on the Min­istry of Forestry’s web­site www.forestry.gov.fj The in­for­ma­tion re­quired in­clude pho­tos of the trees planted to­gether with the name of the per­son, con­tact, and the lo­ca­tion. The Min­istry will phys­i­cally val­i­date the in­for­ma­tion be­fore adding the num­ber of trees planted onto Fiji’s treeplant­ing dash­board.

Photo: Min­istry of Forestry

Min­is­ter for Forestry, Hon­ourable Osea Naiqamu with pri­mary school stu­dents.

Photo: Min­istry of Forestry

For more in­for­ma­tion please con­tact Min­istry of Forestry, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Team, Mo­bile: 9904893 / 8960865 Email:forestryco­mms@gmail.com

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