BY LYNTON AARON FILIA
SOLOMON Islands Government and the United Nations Development Programme have concluded its three-year project which resulted with sets of commitment towards environment issues.
The Integrating Global Environment Commitments in Investment and Development Decision Making (IGECIDDM) Project which are implemented under SIG and UNDP have lapsed.
Despite its closure, Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology Dr Culwic Togamana called for adoption of the concept.
Togamana during the project closure workshop at King Solomon Hotel yesterday explained Solomon Islands is a country blessed with rich terrestrial and marine resources.
He said alongside Philippines, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands is part of the ‘Coral Triangle Initiative’ with highest marine biodiversity in the world.
“Behind PNG, the country is also a host to the second highest number of flora and fauna species in the world and such information supports the notion that we are one of the few countries blessed with a rich biological diversity,” he adds.
In Solomon Islands, Togamana said key threats include unsustainable resource harvesting.
For example forest through legal or illegal logging and now mining due to population growth and macro or micro economic and social pressures that come with it
Also large agricultural developments coupled with widespread subsistence farming, as well as climate change.
In realisation of these threats repeated calls have been echoed over the years for sustainable and proper management of our environment and resources, he said.
This has led to some awareness and researches being conducted to help gauge and support communities who are interested in seriously considering sustainable management of their resources.
Togamana said SIG has been collaborating with international partners and local organisations to try and address the threats.
The ratification of Multi-Lateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) such as the Rio Conventions—UNFCCC, UNCBD, UNCCD is an example of the international collaboration.
He said domestically, amongst others SIG has enacted key laws such as the Environment Act and its regulations and the Protected Areas Act.
Also, important policies have been developed and endorsed by the cabinet, he adds.
The key ones cabinet endorsed include the Climate Change Policy, the National REDD+ Readiness Roadmap, the Climate Change NAPA, and the NBSAP.
However, challenge people facing currently there is a very huge gap between how these laws and policies transpired to the provincial or rural level.
Provincial Governments and rural population did not even understand the purposes of the laws and policies which weaken their ability to actively participate in utilising or implementing them.
Looking at this trend, Minister Togamana said there is a need for nationwide awareness.
UNDP Country Manager Ms Azusa Kubota said the project showcase one of the many on-going collaborations between UNDP and the Solomon Islands Government.
She explained despite the project lapsed it signified continue collaboration of SIG and UNDP to address significant global environmental issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation.
She said, “One of the key objectives of the project is to increase public awareness and understanding of the conventions through the REDD+ process.”
She adds result from the partnership with the Solomon Islands National University and the Government, the project developed Resource Text Book and Teachers Guide.
Ms Kobota explained the materials create so that young people and future generations are aware of the national and global environmental issues.
Most importantly, sustainable practices to conserve country’s natural resources, she adds.