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Community Partnerships Contribute to Forest Restoration

We depend on Trees and Forests for our survival. Apart from providing habitats for animals, insects and birds, and sustaining our livelihoods, forests also offer watershed protection, prevent soil erosion and help in the fight against Climate Change through carbon sequestration.

Partnership with the Fiji Development Bank
In 2019, the Fiji Development Bank (FDB) formalised a partnership with the Ministry of Forestry and the iTaukei Affairs Board for the purpose of long-term engagement with communities in the West, North and Central/ Eastern divisions to restore degraded forests.

The partnership is mutually beneficial to all parties in that while it is part of FDB’s Corporate Social Environment Responsibility, the communities, the forests and their ecosystems also gain from the restoration efforts. 

Benefits include better local climate regulation, improved flood and erosion control, an increased variety and availability of food and non-food products and economic opportunities for the communities.

Ministry of Forestry Permanent Secretary Pene Baleinabuli said that the Ministry is grateful to the FDB and other stakeholders and development partners for sharing Fiji’s vision to have sustainable forests that can benefit the people, economy, environment and nature.

Forest Restoration
FDB Chief Executive Officer, Saud Minam said the Bank remains strongly committed to promoting environmental responsibility and climate action initiatives.

To mark this year’s International Day of Forests, 100 FDB and Live and Learn staff joined forces with the Ministry to plant over 2000 trees in the North, West and Central/Eastern divisions over the weekend. All the trees planted are now included in the 30 Million Trees in 15 Years (30MT15Y) national tally.

“Such activities are part of the Bank’s annual calendar of events as Social Corporate Environmental Responsibility,” Mr. Minam said.

He further reiterated that “the FDB family is pleased to participate in activities that contribute towards achieving programmes that complement the National Development Plan, and Fiji’s growth as a nation.” 

The 2000-plus trees planted included pine, kavika and fruit trees. The trees will provide fruits and shade, and help to improve air quality. All these trees could also be monetised through carbon trade, fruit or timber production purposes.

In addition to the partnership with the Fiji Development Bank, the Ministry also has similar restoration arrangements with the UNDP-Pacific Community Ridge to Reef (R2R) Project, FAO-IKI project, Conservation International, and community engagements through the World Bank REDD+ programme, among others. 

Celebrating International Day of Forests
With the theme Forests and Sustainable Production and Consumption, the International Day of Forests is celebrated globally on March 21.

Activities for the day complements the global community’s pledge during COP26 to reaffirm commitments, collective and individual, to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, and the Sustainable Development Goals.   

Particular emphasis is placed on the critical and interdependent roles of forests of all types, biodiversity and sustainable land use in enabling the world to meet its sustainable development goals; to help achieve a balance between anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and removal by sinks; to adapt to Climate Change; and to maintain other ecosystem services. 

Since January 2019, Fijians have collectively planted more than 8.1 million trees under the 30MT15Y tree-planting and growing initiative. On this International Day of Forests, we revisit the importance of trees and forests, and their impacts on nature, biodiversity, ecosystem services, environment, economies and the current and future generations. 
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