REDD+ Solomon Islands, a programme led by the Ministry of Forest and Research (MoFR) has reached out to Isabel province, raising awareness and informing the rural communities of the initiative.
REDD+ is an international climate change mitigation and financing scheme for developing nations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that is capable of generating considerable income for the Solomon Islands government and communities through the reduction of deforestation and forest degradation.
The Provincial Premier of Isabel and provincial staff, chiefs and elders, church representatives including the private sector were informed and consulted on REDD+ through the awareness programme.
Rural communities and people of Kia are also fortunate to be informed of the progress and roles as stakeholders during REDD+ preparation at the national, provincial and community level.
The awareness raising campaign is a joint effort by the Solomon Islands Government through the Ministry of Forest & Research, the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM), and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, with support from the regional SPC/GIZ Programme REDD+ II.
MoFR Deputy Commissioner of Forest, Terence Titiulu highlights the importance of the national government’s commitment to REDD+, and the stakeholders’ importance of partnering towards its successful implementation.
“The Solomon Islands Democratic Coalition for Change Government (SIDCCG) is committed to REDD+, as stated in its National Development Strategy 2016-2035, and is keen to building close partnerships with all stakeholders and driving REDD+ forward.”
He then emphasised the status of forests in the country and the trend of overharvesting that may soon not be able to sustain the country’s important forest sector revenue, which is a grave concern.
“This is one of the reasons why we urgently need to find alternatives and REDD+ is one promising option for the forest sector the government is looking into.
“However, not until we are all committed and strive to fulfil all the REDD+ requirements we will not be able to make use of this opportunity.”
According to MoFR Permanent Secretary Dr Vaeno Vigulu, REDD+ is a new programme and a recommended measure for mitigation and adaptation to climate change which needs to be tested to fit our local setup and our country’s particular circumstances.
“The implementation will take time as resource owners will have to be well aware of the disadvantages and the advantages so that they can make an informed decision.
“REDD+ means that forests will be rehabilitated, and some areas protected, and unsustainable activities will be discontinued to allow for the carbon sequestration to take place and reduce our carbon emission to the atmosphere.”
In this context, awareness raising is very important to create the basis for kicking off and relaying REDD+ information to the general rural populace as key to getting this initiative going, added the Permanent Secretary.