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Ministers meeting a lost chance to tackle forestry issues

Forestry issues were marginalised at the Pacific Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry last week, the Solomons Islands' Ministry of Forestry Ishmael Avui said. 

Mr. Avui said that the purpose of his country taking part in last week's summit was to share knowledge and experiences of common issues affecting agriculture and fisheries in the Pacific. 

“We were able to raise a concern that we would like to see more emphasis on forestry in future meetings,” he said.

He stated the conference mostly focused on topics around agriculture.

“I believe that the key to combating or dealing with climate change lies within our forestry and if we do not deal with forestry then we are not dealing with climate change," he said. 

“I would like to see more voices being heard during the conference about matters that concern forestry not only policy and regulations.

“It is about how the policies and processes we make can change the lives of living in rural areas because if it cannot impact them then it does not serve any purpose and how are going to improve and mitigate those issues so that the residents in rural areas can benefit.”

The Solomon Islands’ Minister of Forestry added that one of the outcomes of the meeting relevant for forestry in their country was the emphasis on REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation).

A major issue faced in the Solomon Islands is the unsustainable harvesting of forests for logs mostly exported to China, South Korea, and other Asian countries, he added.

“We are aiming at banning log export in ten years time but, at the moment, we are trying to control it by implementing laws and regulations, and encourage tree planting so that we can harvest it in a sustainable manner. 

“A plan of action we are taking back home is to promote healthy diets and changing habits on how we plant food with the objective of reducing obesity in the Pacific by growing more crops that are healthy.”

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