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Official appeals for sustainable management of forest resources

A senior government official has appealed for forest resources in the region to be managed sustainably in the face of nutritional and climate change challenges.

The Assistant C.E.O. in Samoa’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.), Tolusina Pouli, said this recently at the Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services regional conference in Samoa. 

He said the conference in Apia provided a platform for the sharing of information and the exchange of ideas, on top of the discussions on new initiatives and emerging issues in the Pacific Islands.

“As a head of Forestry myself, I fully support and encourage the exchange of all information and sharing of experiences and lessons learned among the countries in the region,” he said.

“Just to highlight that the major challenge for us now is to ensure the sustainable development of the diminishing forests and tree resources. Taking to account the miles for economic development, social and environmental needs of the growing populations.”

Mr. Pouli said the conference offered the opportunity for the sharing of success stories on the use of new strategies, policies or programs – which would have enabled communities and countries to move towards sustainable management of their forest resources.

“I am hoping that through this technical meeting, we will be able to come up with ideas, strategies and plans that will help to achieve our goal that is a resilient future for the Pacific region.”

Jalesi Mateboto, who is the natural resource management advisor to the Pacific Community’s land resources division, said a lot can be learnt from Melanesian countries in terms of sustainable forest management experience and expertise. 

He said one aspect is their sustainable use and utilisation of scarce and diminishing forest and tree resources, due to increasing demands for economic development, as well as meeting the social and environmental needs of their growing local populations.

Due to the challenges faced by the island states in the region, Mr. Mateboto said the Pacific should consider moving forward in a bid to strike a balance between the developmental aspirations of its people and the environmental and social implications for the people and the communities they live.

“Despite all these known benefits, we continue to put pressure on our natural resources. This is basically due to our attempt to go for economic development and other infrastructure development, and without the whole landscape to try and look at what kind of development is suitable for those kinds of areas or resources that we are trying to utilize,” he said. 

“So with finding mechanisms such as the REDD+ and now the Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR) have actually provided us with an opportunity to move forward and pursue some of these areas in terms of getting the support that can actually help us with how we will manage our natural resources. Especially with our forests, our trees and looking at the whole landscape. Even though most of the Pacific countries aren’t doing REDD+, there are components of it that it is still applicable to everyone who are managing their natural resources."

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