Caption: Deputy general manager TLTB Solomone Nata during the forestry training consultation.Photo:SUPPLIED.

Discussing fair and equitable returns and putting in place procedures that will respect their rights whilst encouraging ownership of development programme is central to the National iTaukei Resource Owners Committee (NTROC) two-day meeting next week.

The National iTaukei Resource Owners Committee will convene on 17 and 18 February, 2015 at the Center for Appropriate Technology & Development in Nadave.  It will include a one-day workshop and meeting proper. The meeting will be the first of three NTROC meetings that will be held this year.

The NTROC is an initiative of the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs and the iTaukei Institutions to promote the training of the iTaukei to make informed decisions on the sustainable management of their natural resources; ensure the participation of the iTaukei in decision-making processes that affect their resources; and to support efforts to increase the resilience of their communities against the impacts of climate change and natural disasters which include both terrestrial and marine resources excluding mineral resources.

“The Department of Forest’s REDD+ Project and the SPC GIZ Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Islands Region Program must be commended for assisting with the much needed funds for the forum to convene”, said the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs permanent secretary Mr Savenaca Kaunisela.

“Their acknowledgement of the importance of this forum and mapping Fiji’s sustainable future is a testimony of their dedication to a greener economy for Fiji,” Mr Kaunisela added.

Mr Kaunisela said the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs is adamant that this meeting will pave a way and set the foundation on Access Benefit Sharing (ABS) procedures to ensure fair and equitable benefits arising from genetic resources for the communities.

More importantly, the introduction of the concept of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) will strengthen community and government partnerships when pursuing development in the Provinces.

He said that the Ministry and the iTaukei Affairs Board have been discussing ABS and FPIC internally for some time and they are thankful to UNDP who is the implementing agency for ABS, and Department of Environment who is the national focal point for ABS for agreeing to introduce to concept to the NTROC.

The Conservator of Forest Mr Samuela Lagataki is also featured on Day 1 of the meeting, to explain NTROC members responsibilities as the Fiji Forest Owners Association, under their national Forest Policy.

German Cooperation, GIZ and the Department of Forest will run the Committee through the REDD+ programme while the Ministry of Agriculture will also take them through some viable Land use programme.  Secretariat of the South Pacific Community will discuss Food security and some of the success programme they have used at Narikoso, Kadavu as part of the village’s Relocation Programme.

The National iTaukei Resource Owners Committee is comprised of the Provincial Commissioners or Roko Tui from the 14 provinces in Fiji, the Roko Tui Colo, and one resource owner representative from each of the 14 provinces.  The Committee was established and launched in a special event in July 2014 and is chaired by the Permanent Secretary for iTaukei Affairs.

NTROC reports to the Board for iTaukei Affairs Board under the chairmanship of the Minister for iTaukei Affairs, which ultimately reports to Cabinet, thence to Parliament.

The meeting features the attendance and commitment of all Heads of the iTaukei Institutions including the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs; the iTaukei Affairs Board; the iTaukei Land & Fisheries Commission; the iTaukei Land & Trust Board; the iTaukei Trust Fund; and the CATD.



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