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SPC Pacific Forestry Meeting Focuses on REDD+, Food Security and Trade

SPC29 September 2013: The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), convened the Pacific Regional Forestry Technical Meeting under the theme 'Sustainable Forest Management for a Resilient Future in the Pacific Region.'

The meeting, which took place from 24-27 September 2013, in Nadi, Fiji, agreed resolutions on REDD+, conservation and management of forest genetic resources, forest health, food security, forest trade and certification, and new initiatives.

On REDD+, the resolution includes a mandate for SPC to organize preparatory workshops to strengthen Pacific participation in international forestry processes. It also encourages Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) to: promote the regional proposal on forest monitoring at appropriate fora, such as the Global Environment Facility (GEF); and strengthen regional cooperation to monitor forest carbon leakage with the possible establishment of a regional forest carbon registry.

On forests and food security, the resolution: recommends the development of national guidelines to protect valuable tree species facing extinction from exploitation for their social and culinary benefits; and stresses that forest conservation activities provide alternative livelihoods to address food security.

On forest health, the resolution recommends that PICTS continue to guard against invasive species through strengthened monitoring and surveillance systems, and encourages PICTs to actively participate in the Regional Pest List Database to ensure that important forest pests are also included.

On forest trade and certification, the resolution recognizes: the need to put in place transparent processes on the assessments of the origins of timber, providing a legality assurance system for timber product exports; the need for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for forest products from SFM enterprises to address illegal and unsustainable logging, linking demand for certified products to genuine suppliers; the significance of establishing a Sandalwood regulation for the protection and sustainable management and harvesting of this forest resource; and the need for policy and legislative frameworks for the protection and sustainable management of PICTs forestry resources.

On forest genetic resources, the resolution inter alia: endorses the Strategy and Action Plan of the Pacific Islands Tree Seed Centre.

On new initiatives, the resolution recommends that SPC seek GIZ support for a new regional REDD+ project building on the achievements of the ongoing 'Climate Protection through Forest Conservation in PICs' project. [SPC Press Release] [IISD RS Sources]