Significant Breakthrough for Forestry Sector

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Solomon Islands Delegation to the ITTO Meetings in Yokohama, Japan with counterparts from Papua New Guinea after one of the sessions.

The  Ministry  of  Forestry  and  Research  has  made   a  very  important  breakthrough joining the 54th  International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC) meeting  recently  held in Yokohama, Japan  from the 5th – 8th of November 2018 as an observer.

A delegation of three  led by Permanent Secretary,  Ministry of Forestry  and  Research (MoFR)  Dr  Vaeno  Vigulu,  Undersecretary  Technical  (supervising)  and  the Commissioner of Forests attended on behalf of Solomon  Islands Government.

ITTC is the  executive  body  to  International  Tropical  Timber  Organisation (ITTO) an intergovernmental organization; and  an  action  and  field-oriented organization with more  than 30 years of experience.

Its functions  mainly  on  promoting the  sustainable  management and  conservation of tropical  forests,  the  expansion and  diversification  of  international trade  in  tropical timber  from sustainably managed and legally harvested forests.

Permanent Secretary,  Dr Vaeno  Vigulu says despite  the  observer’s  status of Solomon Islands to  this ITTO Council  Meeting,  there  is great  interest  shown  from  the  bigger countries  who  are consumers  of forest products.

“The ITTO Executive have  also shown  support for Solomon  Islands to  join and  be a

full member; an encouraging notion from the organisation’s  heads.

“With  the  knowledge that  Solomon   Islands  is the  second  highest  in  the  world   on round logs exports  apart  from  Papua  New  Guinea,  it even  bolsters  ITTC wanting  to help and assist the country.”

He  adds  there  are  lots  of  potential Solomon   Islands can  benefit  from  ITTO  in the many areas it provides  support for its members  through its key focus areas.

Noting   ITTO’s  six  major   focus  areas   include   Sustainable   Forest   Management  – Managing    and   conserving   tropical    forests,   Economics,   Statistics   and   Markets   – Improving   the   transparency  of  and   expanding  international  markets   for  tropical timber,  Sustainable  Forest  Industries  – Developing efficient and  value-adding tropical forest-based industries,  Climate-change mitigation and adaptation – Addressing climate change,  Capacity  building  through awarding of Fellowships  – Raising the  capacity  of forest  stakeholders to  manage  and  benefit  from  their  resources,  Empowering women in Forestry sector – increasing involvement of women in the industry with equal opportunities and Contributions to Sustainable Development Goals.

Solomon  Islands as a country  can find means  tapping  into  these for assistance as soon as it becomes  a full member, says the Permanent Secretary.

Dr Vigulu also  highlight  one  interesting  thing  during  the  meetings  was  to  see every known producers/exporters and consumers/importers around the world  are members.

“Seeing  almost  every  consumer   of  our  forest  products are  members   of  ITTO,  it  is indeed  an encouraging bit and  an opportunity to engage  and  discuss issues of interest at such level platform.”

He says his delegation is optimistic that  such an eye opener will pave the way forward

to a holistic approach to proper managing  of the country’s available  forest resources.

It is also an opportunity that  Solomon  Islands must not  miss out  on  being one  of the highest producers and exporters of forest products, he adds.

The Permanent Secretary then  acknowledges the  Japanese  International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for facilitating and  encouraging Solomon  Islands to attend this 54th International Tropical Timber Council meeting  followed up after a trip to ITTO Headquarters on February  2018 as a gesture of true friendship.

A  compiled  report  from   the   delegation’s   attendance  and   deliberations   will  be

forwarded to cabinet  for discussion. – MOFR Press