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A-G and Gavoka promote Nature-based Solutions to Climate Change

The Attorney-General Honourable Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and the Leader of the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA), Honourable Viliame Gavoka, yesterday heralded the New Year by planting trees at Sila Village in Cuvu, Nadroga. The Parliamentarians joined the Methodist Youth Fellowship celebrations which was held at the Honourable Gavoka’s village. Close to 50 youth and villagers attended the event which also included the village’s most senior person – 89 year old Apakuki Vasuitaukei.

Forestry Director Operations West Maleli Nakasava said the participation of the two prominent national figures was significant because it consolidated Fiji’s efforts to address climate change and socio-economic development through nature-based solutions, among other strategies.

Both Parliamentarians thanked the Ministry of Forestry staff for facilitating the tree-planting event on the first day of the new year.

Mr. Nakasava said the trees planted yesterday were possibly the first trees to be planted in Fiji and arguably the world too for the Year 2021. They included citrus, sandalwood, mahogany, tavola and vesi wai – a combination of fruit trees, high value exotic commercial species and native species.

He said this combination reflects the formula that the Ministry of Forestry is promoting through its tree-planting programme especially given the impacts of both the natural and human-induced disasters the country is going through including COVID-19 which has seen over 120 thousand Fijians either losing their jobs or are working significantly reduced hours, and the super cyclones in the form of TC Harold and TC Yasa.

“These events have resulted in the need for resource-based sectors to help with food security and economic growth.”

He said the Ministry of Forestry has in the past two years coordinated the planting of over three million trees. We planted one million trees in 10 months last year before Government announced the new target of 30 million trees in 15 years. So we also achieved the new annual target of two million trees per year this year.

“About 80 percent of the trees were commercial species like mahogany, pine, teak, sandalwood, non-timber species like candle nut and fuel wood, and a wide variety of fruit trees. The remaining 20 percent of trees planted thus far were native species to ensure we restock our native forests and at the same time protect and preserve species that are endemic to Fiji,” he said.

He said Fiji’s tree-planting revolution is part of the efforts to translate our global leadership status on climate change into tangible results. Trees are one of the best nature-based solutions because they not only absorb carbon, but they also produce oxygen, hold the soil together which avoids soil erosion, and provide a home to a wide range of insects, birds and animals.

“As a Ministry, we are grateful that Government is taking the lead role in promoting tree-planting,” he said.

Mr. Nakasava also acknowledged the Fiji Pine Group of Companies for planting more than two million trees this year.

“So, in total we have as a Nation, planted more than four million trees in the span of 12 months. Imagine if we continued this approach well into the future? Our children and youth will benefit from an abundance of greenery which will help cushion the impact of climate change while also provide opportunities for socio-economic development,” he said.

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