Statement by the Honorable Osea Naiqamu, Minister of Fisheries and Forests of the Republic of Fiji at the High Level Segment of the United Nations Forum on Forests

New York
Friday, May 15, 2015

Mr. Chairman,

I firstly take this opportunity to congratulate you on your appointment as Chairman of the eleventh session of the United Nations Forum on Forests and my delegation is confident that this year’s Forum will be a success under your stewardship. Also I extend the Government of Fiji’s support to you Mr. Chairman during the course of our deliberations in the next couple of days. I also thank the Secretariat for circulating the background information that forms the basis of our deliberations.

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation associate’s itself with the statement delivered by the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of South Africa on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

Mr. Chairman,

This September, our leaders will adopt a universal and transformative post-2015 development agenda including a set of sustainable development goals. Part of Goal 15 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) is on sustainable use of forests. In this regard, this Forum is at a very important juncture this year as we strive to promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests, and increase afforestation and reforestation globally by 2020.

Mr. Chairman,

The scales of increasing demand and pressure on our natural ecosystems and natural resources including forests for the purpose of national development cannot be denied. Never before has the challenge of poverty, food security; health; water security; energy; conservation of biodiversity and many others has never been so great like today.

Therefore Mr. Chairman, it is important that this Forum strategically map our way forward to the future we want for our forest in the face of evolving forest related global processes in strengthening its place to effectively contribute to the sustainable development goals our leaders will adopt in September.

Mr Chairman, My delegation extends its appreciation to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the report on the review of the effectiveness of the International Arrangement on Forests (IAF). We commend the future options and the challenges highlighted in the report and agree on a way forward to take us to The international arrangement on forests we want beyond 2015 ”. This will place us in a much stronger strategic position to face new forest related challenges in line with the post-2015 Development Agenda.

We therefore must be guided by the principle of “collaboration and the will to work together to produce swift and positive results”.

Mr. Chairman,

We acknowledge and appreciate the hard work done by members of UNFF and its Secretariat on the achievement of the 4 Global Objectives on Forests and the agreement on the Non Legally Binding Instrument on all Types of Forests. In this regard, Fiji will continue to support the work of UNFF in implementing  what we had agreed upon and also in forging forward in achieving the 4 Global Objectives on Forests.

Mr Chairman,

If The Non Legal Binding Instrument on all Types of Forests is to be effective and successful to withstand the challenges beyond 2015, the instrument must be inclusive and dynamic. The findings and challenges of the independent Assessment of the International Arrangement on Forests is clear.  More effort and resources is required to move the instrument forward and in promoting the instrument to our partners, the communities including youth and women’s groups. In this regard we have to renew our level of commitment with our partners in identifying effective means of implementation that will assist us in achieving the aim of the instrument.  Effective means of implementation is vital in achieving key challenges faced by Small Island Developing States and the important role that regional and sub-regional processes play as a conduit to nationalising international obligations.

Mr Chairman,

The establishment of a dedicated Global Forest Fund, will ensure that there is a fund dedicated just for forests to address all issue related to forests. The funds that we have right now are fragmented. The forest is like a big pie with a number of people having a say in a piece of it, but no one really having a say in the whole pie. A dedicated Global Forest Fund will address this challenge. In the same regard, the Forest Financing Facility will demonstrate our commitment to what we had committed ourselves to, to implement the NLBI and achieve the Global Objectives on Forests. Without this commitment to the means of implementation, the UNFF will not be able to play the lead role in the coordination of efforts that we really want it to do from 2015 onwards and our approaches to implementing SFM will still be ad-hoc and still fragmented.

Mr Chairman,

Like  many  Small Island Developing States,  Fiji's  capacity  to  access financial resources through the facilitative process and respond  to the implementation of the NLBI  is constrained  by economics,  limited capacity  and  technological  resources.  Despite these challenges, Fiji is doing the best we can with the limited resources available. In this connection the Fijian Government is providing certain amount of resources that is increasing every year to achieve the goals of Sustainable Forest Management and new Forestry projects. However, more can be done with development partners to achieving Sustainable Forest Management, targeting environment sustainability and alleviating poverty.  

Mr Chairman,

We must broaden and strengthen the participation of other stakeholders including NGOs, the private sector, and other relevant International agencies that support the implementation of Sustainable Forest Management and I can assure this Forum that Fiji is doing its part to the best is can. Moreover,  there  has  to  be engagement and commitment at  the  highest  political  levels   to  respond to the challenges before us in order for us to move forward together.

Mr. Chairman,

At the same time we must be vigilant to ensure that our interests are effectively reflected in other international forum and agreements like the Financing for Development that will be held in Addis Ababa in July, the Post-2015 Development Agenda that will be adopted in September, and the Conference of Parties 21st  session that will be held in Paris. The Forum must identify ways and strategies to integrate what we agree in this Forum into these international agreements.

Mr Chairman,

In all of this, we must set ourselves a time to come back and gauge the progress that we had made with respect to the commitments we have made.

I am very confident of the current process and its ability to be transformed and invigorated to give us the “The international arrangement on forests we want beyond 2015”

I thank you Mr Chairman

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