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Forest Act 1992 Review Underway

The Ministry of Forestry carried out its interagency consultation on the review of the Forest Act 1992 today(05.09.23).

The REDD+ Programme Team Leader Ilaisa Tulele opened the consultation in Suva by stating that it was a historic moment because the Forest Act was being reviewed after thirty years.

The first National Forest Policy was adopted in 1950, and the first Forest Act went into effect in 1953. Collectively, they saw forestry primarily in the framework of managing forests to produce timber.

“The Forest Act was replaced in 1992 by the Forest Decree which simplified the preceding legislation and made an initial attempt to address several decades of changing and broadening the requirements of the forestry sector to take into account social, economic, environmental, cultural and political developments,” Mr Tulele said.

The necessity for a review of the Act with a sharpened focus on sustainable forest management, elevated landowner ambitions, climate change, and globalisation was cited by Mr Tulele as a result of the fact that the policy environment for forestry in the twenty-first century "continues to change, coupled with new developments over the years."

“This integration will ensure a robust legal infrastructure that will underpin forest sector climate initiatives including carbon markets and carbon trading. Such an infrastructure is also necessary given the land tenure system in Fiji where almost 90% of land is communally owned; legally protected by the iTaukei (indigenous people),” Mr Tulele said.

The Ministry had received online submissions from the general public, and the one-day face-to-face consultation was attended by key agencies from government ministries, non-government organiSations, academia, the iTaukei Land Trust Board, and the Fiji Hardwood Corporation.

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