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Celebrating ‘Healthy Forests for Healthy People’


Hon. Ravu spoke at 2023 International Day of Forests on 21 March, 2023, at Korotari Forestry Station, Labasa.



Representatives from the Government, and Provincial Councils,

Forest Industry Stakeholders,   

Invited Guests and Students,
Members of the Media,

Ladies and Gentlemen.


Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

It is my pleasure to join you here in the Friendly North to celebrate the 2023 International Day of Forests.

With the theme “Healthy Forests for Healthy People”, this year’s International Day of Forests focuses on Sustainable Development Goals three (3) on Good Health and Wellbeing and fifteen (15) on Life on Land.

Forests are often linked to many things including the environment, conservation, climate change, socio-economic development, employment, and national development.  

Trees and the planting of trees play a vital role in this regard.

Ladies and Gentlemen, through our national thirty million trees in fifteen years initiative, more than sixteen million trees have been collectively planted across Fiji by youths, schools, civil society organisations, church groups, individuals and communities.

Your Government will not only look at achieving the number of trees to be planted but will closely look at the monitoring and evaluation of these trees to ensure high growth and survival rate.  

Healthy forests help keep global warming in check: forests contain six hundred and sixty-two billion tonnes of carbon, which is more than half the global carbon stock in soils and vegetation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, forests and trees are a solution to most of our problems – they help buffer exposure to heat and extreme weather events caused by climate change, they purify the water, clean the air, capture carbon to fight climate change, provide food and life-saving medicines, and generally improve our well-being.

Spending time in forests increase positive emotions and decreases stress, blood pressure, depression, fatigue, anxiety and tension.

Trees in cities also absorb pollutant gases from traffic and industry and filter fine particulates such as dust, dirt and smoke, which help shield urban populations from respiratory diseases.

We, therefore, must make it our business to safeguard these precious natural resources.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Ministry of Forestry has twenty-three forest and nature reserves including the Colo-i-Suva Forest park which is located about thirty minutes out of Suva City and is open to visitors seven days a week.

At the Pacific Week of Agriculture and Forestry held two weeks ago in Nadi, Heads of Agriculture and Forestry from Fiji and the Pacific region all committed to remain steadfast in our resolve to harness from and safeguard our natural resources for the well-being of our children and our future generations.

In ensuring that forests and our natural resources are available forever, this year’s International Day of Forests will be marked with the establishment of a Climate Smart Agriculture initiative here at the Korotari Nursery with the support and assistance of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Climate Smart Agriculture is an approach that helps to transform the agri-food system towards green and climate resilient practices.

This pilot site at Korotari is part of the Ministry of Forestry’s 2023 plan, and if proved successful, will be replicated on a number of Ministry’s reforestation sites as the benefits is far much greater than its establishment costs.

The sustainable management of our forests cannot be achieved by the forestry sector alone. You and I have a role to play! The decisions we take today is critical to the future of our forests and for our heath.

Given that the main drivers of deforestation are outside of forestry, we need to work together with other land-based sectors to deliver the desired outcomes for our forests. Working together with agriculture, therefore, in this CSA initiative will, hopefully, be the start of our pursuit for an integrated approach to how we manage our natural resources for the benefit of all our people.

In closing, I wish to acknowledge with sincere appreciation the participation of schools in the International Day of Forests celebrations in the West, North and Central Eastern divisions.

I also wish to thank all our partners in development who have supported (21.03.23) today’s events and the Ministry’s work to ensure we sustain our forests for the present and future generation.

Your attendance, interpretation of the theme through posters, quizzes and oratory contests is a good indication of the appreciation that the current generation has for forests.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you for joining us in celebrating the International Day of Forests. I wish to also remind us that the theme calls for giving, not just taking, because healthy forests will bring healthy people.

Vinaka Vakalevu, Dhanyavad, and Thank You.

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