Replicating Natural Resource Management Strategies
Similar strategies are now planned for development in the provinces of Lomaiviti and Ba.
Board deputy Chief Executive Officer, Colonel Apakuki Kurusiga, said NRM strategies present a hope to resource owners within the 14 provinces, that their resources will be managed sustainably ensuring a ready stock for socio-economic development well into the future.
In August, WWF South Pacific facilitated a planning workshop for an NRM strategy for the province that is now in its first draft stage.
The thrust of such a strategy, which is incorporated into the provincial corporate plan, is about ensuring that developments within the province happen in a sustainable manner so that food security and the livelihoods of people are protected.
More than 89 percent of the 70 odd thousand people who live in the province reside in rural areas and directly depend on natural resources as a source of food and income and this could be placed in jeopardy without a plan for its sustainable development.
Colonel Kurusiga said the NRM strategy is a wise move by Macuata in light of increasing developments facilitated under the Look North Policy.
“There has been a boom in economic expansion and development in Fiji and this has attracted a lot of investors so we must be prepared as the largest resource owners,” he said.
The formulation of the NRM strategy has been made in consultation with resource owners, relevant government stakeholders and non-government organisations.
“Investors are keen to invest in businesses in Fiji but they are going directly to the mataqali and landowners and once they wave the dollar sign in front of the landowners, villagers readily agree to the investment without knowing the destruction it can cause to the environment.
“We want to see a reinforcement of values for the protection of the environment in and this is one way to do that,” Colonel Kurusiga said.
“It has the function of forewarning resource owners of the possible pitfalls and degradation of natural resources to their detriment which protects their interests.
“All provincial councils should have this type of strategy because of Government’s intention of forming environmental committees in all provinces and already Roko Tuis are conservation officers so such strategic actions bode well for the development of resources.”