A nationwide consultation on the review of the current Forest Resources and Timber Utilisation Act (FRTUA) or commonly known as Forestry Act is currently underway.
The Ministry of Forestry and Research is leading the consultation review at the ministerial level with line ministries and are starting to roll out teams for provincial consultations.
Industries, non-government organisations and other stakeholders will be consulted within this same process as well.
Speaking during consultation with government line ministries, Forestry Permanent Secretary, Vaeno Vigulu stresses the importance of reviewing the Act as fundamental to governing the management, utilisation, rehabilitation and protection of our forest resources.
“It addresses the tripartite pillars, the environment, economic and social aspects.
“However, there is still room for improvement to fully manage and regulate the forest resources of our country given the experiences and shortfalls faced.”
He said, it is fitting that the review has come about to address the gaps and missing links that long been utilised by businesses and individuals to their own gains and advantages.
In many instances, resource owners and landowners were sidelined with minimum benefits reaped, and degradation of their forest resources, riparian buffer zones and landscapes, pollution of drinking water and siltation of shorelines.
As such the DCC Government has seen the need to review the current Forestry Act as it has aged, with priority getting it into parliament this year or early 2018, said the Permanent Secretary.
Mr Vigulu also emphasise the importance of line ministries, industries, non-government organisations and relevant stakeholders contribution of constructive ideas and views towards this consultation review.
“See where our Act’s don’t align and if these non-alignments have caused negative impacts on your activities. This is your chance to share it and we can capture them in the ongoing review.
“What you see from your window might not be seen by the foresters, thus this is your opportunity to highlight them,” said PS Vigulu.
The Permanent Secretary adds, the Ministry is keen to make this a good review and ensure developing a Forestry Bill or Act that is vibrant and addresses the current including the contemporary issues.
Teams deployed for provincial consultations are ongoing, with two consultation teams for Choiseul and Makira Provinces currently on the ground doing consultation on the review.
Other Provincial consultation teams will proceed later in June and July.
Identified consultation sites in other provinces should expect a notice of the review, detail program with relevant information sent prior to the visiting teams’ deployment.