THE Japanese International Cooperation Agency’s (JICA) newly partnered project with the Ministry of Forest and Research (MOFR), known as “The Project on Capacity Development for Sustainable Forest Resource Management (JICA SFRM Project)” is a new elevation to many known collaboration programmes.
It was established in March 2017 after initial discussions between MOFR and JICA, and the agreement signing was dubbed historical for being the first-time that the Forest ministry will be benefiting directly from Japanese bilateral cooperation.
This could be symbolically defined as the result of long cordial relationship developed and shared between the two countries – Solomon Islands and Japan.
While there are many collaborations that has been brought on to other areas of focus, this partnership with MOFR is different, specifically on technical grounds.
The project aims to enhance the ministry’s capacities for developing the methodologies to sustainably utilise the current available forest resources of Solomon Islands.
It endeavours to avail the potentials of community-owned forest resources as the alternative, in order to reduce the dependency on logging at the community level.
In the preface of the project’s implementation, the ministry’s officials have been invited to the counterpart training in Japan and the study tour in Papua New Guinea respectively.
This is a way forward towards equipping the human resources and setting a footpath towards the project’s full implementation.
Formulation of the Forest Technical Working Group (FTWG), comprising of key stakeholders that are willing to share information, provide advices and lend a hand to people in Solomon Islands is another testimony to the project’s commencement.
Even went into the extent of providing a project vehicle and a boat with outboard motors as enhancement of logistical capacities for promotion of Sustainable Forest Resource Management (SFRM) at the field level.
These are in line with the project targets at community base forest management – which preliminary data collection to identify potential pilots sites has been carried out so far at Western and Isabel Provinces and will be continued by the end of this year.
Holistically, these portrayals shown here is a coverage that is highly appreciated for by the Ministry of Forest and Research, with anticipation to see more efforts to reaching out to the rural people, especially resource owners.
As rightly pointed out by Resident Representative of JICA, Mr Kyoji Mizutani, the activities done so far and to come are to be generated for one direction, capacity development of the Ministry.
The Project with the Ministry will endeavour with all possible options to achieve this goal through intensive continuous discussions with ministry’s officials including all the stakeholders.
To date, the strong tie shared in-between now prepares us to tackle the expected and unexpected challenges emerging during the course of the project implementation.
But there is believe and strong determination not to stop the activities until the goal is achieved, he says.
Acknowledging the collaborative partnership with the generous assistance, MOFR Secretary Dr Vaeno Vigulu highly commended JICA with its in-depth support under the JICA SFRM project as timely.
Sustainable Forest Resource Management in the context of timber industry is harvesting timber at a rate that will enable the forest to recover and supply wood in perpetuity.
That said, it needs no reminding that logging activities are carried out in customary land, and because of this, people must be supported in terms of advice and technical know-how to reforest logged out areas and the wise use of their remaining resources for its sustainability.
In this regard, the Solomon Islands Democratic Coalition for Change Government (SIDCCG) recognises the human dimension as related to its policy to encourage SFRM is not a single-handed undertaking, he says.
It is only proper that the recipients of these, JICA SFRM project and equipment’s or assets consider ways and means to properly use them in order to better the working resources and working standards for the subjects professed and assigned to serve throughout the entire country, Mr Vigulu continues on to say.
He stresses prior to the partnership the pain of not having adequate equipment, the inability to pay relevant equipment for work and the costs of basic necessities against limited ministerial resources are unavoidable.
All these are sufficient evidence to our yearning and hence, that strive to improve working environment, resources and standards comes to still.
But, today we are grateful to JICA who made part of that great effort realised with its timely partnership, to at least start somewhere.