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Forest wardens to represent ministry

Manasa Kalouniviti
Thursday, November 09, 2017

"YOU will be representing Bainimarama, you'll be representing the Minister of Forests and all those within his ranks in the monitoring and conservation of our forests in your provinces."

These were the words of Minister for Forests, Osea Naiqamu to the 29 graduating provincial forest wardens at the Forestry Training Centre in Colo-i-Suva yesterday.

Mr Naiqamu told the graduates that Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and other government ministers were in Bonn, Germany, leading the climate change conference where Fiji had assumed the presidency of COP23.

"And one of the issues that relate closely to climate change is the conservation of our forests," he said.

"I thank the graduates from the different provinces for their perseverance and resolve to be able to graduate today as forest wardens, as I understand that you went through a very intensive training course and on behalf of Government I wish to congratulate you for your achievement. Today is also a new day as we are graduating the pioneer lot of forest wardens and I'm urging you all to work with Government in the conservation and sustainable development of our forest resources."

Mr Naiqamu said one of the key implementing challenges in the National Forest Policy was the need to build capacity and to support forest owners in sustainably managing their forests.

"These trained forest wardens will assist and support the work of the ministry at community level working with the local conservation officers, turaga ni koro and other relevant stakeholders. This collaboration is our first step towards more inclusiveness of resource owners to manage their resources."

He said Fiji continued to see growing pressure on its forest resources because of the increased demand for timber and other forest products.

"The resource owners' aspirations for increased benefits from the use of their land for other uses and the ongoing conversion of forest land places a significant role on the ministry staff to facilitate and monitor everything. And the appointment of forest wardens will ease some of this workload," he said.

"They are also expected to play some role in educating their communities in some of these challenges and improve awareness in their communities on such issues."

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