A GOVERNMENT department is buoyed by many landowners being interested in the REDD-plus (reducing emission from deforestation and degradation) policy.
Department of Fisheries and Forests director Jope Davetanivalu said they were happy despite it having taken a while.
"An important exercise in our consultations with them was the identification of the drivers (human causes) of carbon stock change, deforestation and degradation.
"It was necessary for developing an effective REDD-plus strategy and for establishing the appropriate monitoring systems for these drivers."
Scientists estimate that deforestation and forest degradation account for 20 per cent of the annual greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change.
The REDD-plus policy aims to reduce these emissions through financial incentives for those who adopt the policy which emphasises conservation, and sustainable management.
The policy is a first for the region and the participatory development process solicited inputs from all relevant stakeholders.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)/ Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Regional Program Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region is supporting Fiji in its efforts to implement the policy.
In drafting the policy, participants defined the appropriate scope, scale, MRV (measuring, reporting and verification) approach, distribution of benefits, institutional support, and safeguards for the implementation of the policy.
"Safeguards include the ensuring the full and effective participation of indigenous resource owners and local communities, consideration of gender issues, and the equitable distribution of benefits," said Mr Davetanivalu.
He said Cabinet endorsing the policy, and its launch was timely because it ensured that large areas of degraded and unutilised lands with the potential for reforestation and afforestation were put to good use.