Macuata Province Leads with Natural Resource Management Strategy
Community leaders, environment officers, experts in the field gathered at the landmark Natural Resource Management Workshop coordinated by WWF South Pacific in Labasa today.
Once formulated, the strategy that will be incorporated into the Macuata Provincial Council’s annual corporate plan to ensure that developments taking place within the province are sustainable and safe so as not to cause detriment to the food security and livelihoods of people.
In opening the workshop, deputy chief executive officer iTaukei Affairs Board Colonel Apakuki Kurusiga applauded Macuata province.
“I am both excited and delighted given that this is also the first Province to conduct a workshop such as this out of the 14 Provinces in Fiji,” Colonel Kurusiga said.
Colonel Kurusiga added the development of the strategy is both timely and crucial.
“Today there is a lot of social and economic expectations on the local natural resources of Macuata, given the Government’s Look North Policy for major infrastructural developments and increased economic investments.
“There is an increasing trend of investors in projects such as mining, logging, tourism, agriculture and fisheries to name a few.
“The iTaukei Affairs Board recognises the importance of maintaining environment sustainability in terms of Sustainable Land Use, Sustainable Sugar Industry, Sustainable Forestry Management, and Sustainable Fisheries Resource Management, Sustainable Mineral and Ground Water Resource Management and appropriate Sanitary Waste Disposable System as prerequisites for sustainable economic development.”
At its core, the strategy safeguards the interests of people within the province, an estimated 89.4 percentage of who live in the rural areas and heavily depend on the use of natural resources for their daily sustenance.
WWF South Pacific Policy Officer Alfred Ralifo said a key aspect of the workshop will be the identification of key areas that need protection and management.
“These are areas of cultural, ecological or economical significance both on land and the aquatic environment,” Ralifo said.
“For example the Great Sea Reef is an area of high biodiversity.”
Formulating the strategy corresponds to the vision of Fiji’s Road Map to Democracy 2009 to 2014 for the sustainable development of Fiji.
It is also aligned to the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan which is a necessary action taken by Fiji upon ratifying the Convention on Biological Diversity.
“It will help coordinate on the ground environmental initiatives but also take into account development plans to ensure that areas that need protection are protected so that development is carried out sustainably.”