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Workshop to Address Regional Training and Capacity Building In Forest Health Biosecurity

There is a critical need for training and capacity building across the Pacific in forest health and biosecurity, says the Ministry of Forestry’s acting Executive Director Operation Services, George Vuki.

Mr Vuki made the remarks today (05.09.23) while formally opening a three-day regional forestry biosecurity training workshop organised by the FAO (The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and supported by the Ministry of Forestry at Tanoa Plaza in Suva.

A recent survey of Pacific countries under the Resilient and Sustainable Agri-food Systems Subprogramme of Strengthening biosecurity for resilient and sustainable agri-food systems with OH approach in the Pacific (FMM/GLO/167/MUL) identified a critical need for training and capacity building across the Pacific in forest health and biosecurity.

The regional workshop aims to begin this process of capacity development, strengthening our network system and awareness raising for forest biosecurity, but most importantly, to begin planning on how we can tackle these challenges in the future, integrating where possible with plant and animal biosecurity initiatives in the region.

“The health of our forests must be maintained to ensure the survival of plant and animal species that make the forest their home and to protect those processes that sustain a healthy environment,” Mr Vuki said.

“Since the last research and training efforts in the 2000’s, the risks posed by new invasive forest pests and diseases to the Pacific have only continued to increase.”

Mr Vuki shared that over the course of the workshop, their focus would be on unpacking key actions implemented by the Forestry Ministry, regional stakeholders, and collaboration efforts with partners for the need for training and capacity building across the Pacific in forest health and biosecurity.

In addition, Mr Vuki acknowledged the never-ending support and commitment rendered by FAO, Professors and Researchers over the past decades to strengthen the resilience of forests and enhance the capacity of its 13 member countries in the Pacific to prevent, detect, and respond to forest biosecurity challenges, thereby safeguarding the vital ecosystem services and socio-economic benefits that forests provide.

The workshop, which concludes on Friday (08.09.23), has around 30 participants from 14 Pacific Island nations, including the Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Niue, Tokelau, and Kiribati.

During the session, both in-person and online, specialists from Australia (University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and Dr Mike Day (consultant) and New Zealand (Plant and Food Research, Scion) will participate as trainers.




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