Conservation initiative to focus on rehabilitation of environment

Ministry for Environment permanent secretary Joshua Wycliffe and ADRA Fiji Country Director Iliapi Tuwai at the launch of the inaugural conservation initiative. Picture: SUPPLIED

A conservation initiative that will integrate and collaborate the ecosystem restoration needs with the genuine needs of our local communities was launched yesterday.

A first of its kind in Fiji and the Pacific, the Jobs for Nature Rehabilitation Program will see the Ministry of Environment in a joint collaboration with the Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA) Fiji to focus on protection, restoration and rehabilitation of the natural (surrounding) environment.

During the launch Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment Dr Mahendra Reddy said: “Restoring  damaged  ecosystems  is  an  efficient  and cost-effective  way  people  can  work  with  nature  to address  the  most  pressing  challenges  humanity is facing today amidst the current global pandemic. Forests, grasslands, wetlands, and other terrestrial to inland water ecosystems, marine and coastal ecosystems are in dire need of some level of restoration, rehabilitation and protection.”

He further stated that this program will divert rural communities from unsustainable practices amongst to be the guardians of our environment and natural resources.

“It is the Ministry’s effort and hope that this program will help and assist communities revitalize, restore and rebuild through nature-based employment and of course stimulate our economy as we fight and win over this Pandemic (COVID-19),” Dr Reddy said.

“We anticipate that these projects while producing great ecosystem restoration outcomes will also deliver to the people of Fiji job creation opportunities. We have used criteria to match jobs and projects to regions that have been most impacted and are vulnerable to COVID-19 and of course the downturn in international visitors,” he said.

“The J-NR program Phase I has a total budget of $150,000 allocated. Each group will be awarded up to $1000 with each area limited to one project. Thus in Phase I, a total of 150 awards will be made.”

“Communal groups can apply and register themselves with the Ministry of Environment to be part of the initiative. Successful applicants will be paid in two tranche to implement environmental friendly conservation methods.

“We are grateful to partner again with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency International (ADRA), an NGO that has proven itself locally in its areas of implementation,” he said.

ADRA Fiji Country Director Iliapi Tuwai has expressed his gratitude to be chosen as an implementing partner.

“We are excited to be part of this new initiative. ADRA Fiji also champions conservation and we’ve had projects that focused on protecting the environment. Thank you for your consideration and we are looking forward to working with the communities through this program.”

 

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