Country-led planning envisions a unified NFMS for Fiji

31 May 2024

The Ministry of Forestry of Fiji organized the “National Forest Monitoring System Country Led Planning Workshop” from 28 to 29 May 2024 in Suva, Fiji, with support provided by the Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI) as part of the new Country-Led Planning (CLP) initiative. The workshop enabled a comprehensive discussion on institutionalizing Fiji’s national forest monitoring system (NFMS) as a core function of government.

As part of the CLP process, the workshop was specifically designed to encourage interactive discussions and multistakeholder knowledge exchanges between government agencies and other stakeholders who have a role to play in sustaining their NFMS within national institutions. Moreover, the participants benefited from the opportunity to discuss the state of their governance and technical capacities, common challenges and solutions to immediate needs.

Forest monitoring in Fiji

The workshop was opened by Apisai Rinamalo, Director of the Forest Resource and Conservation Division at the Ministry of Forestry and Elitsa Peneva-Reed, Coordinator of the GFOI CLP initiative. Maria Fernanda Jaramillo, GFOI CLP Knowledge Sharing and Learning Specialist, introduced the structure of the workshop and facilitated the day-long discussions among participants from all divisions of the Ministry of Forestry with the aim to gain a deep understanding of Fiji’s NFMS. Participants went through the characteristics and overall status of the country’s NFMS, including the following:

  • data availability;
  • lists of available attributes;
  • frequency and place of reporting; and
  • forestry policy context for the NFMS (e.g. forest sector targets, carbon finance initiatives, international commitments and key forest policy objectives).

This session achieved the participants’ identification and exchange of lessons learned, recommendations and challenges regarding the development of the NFMS in Fiji.

Country-led planning for forest monitoring systems

The second day commenced with an inspirational welcome message by Apisai Rinamalo, followed by a presentation on country-led planning by Elitsa Peneva-Reed and an overview of Fiji’s NFMS by Ilaisa Tulele, REDD+ Team Leader of the Forest Resource and Conservation Division at the Ministry of Forestry. Representatives from the Ministry of Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Lands, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change Division, Ministry of iTaukei, Bureau of Statistics and Fiji Hardwood Corporation discussed the necessary elements required to develop and sustain a robust and transparent NFMS as well as the main challenges. After a review of the fundamental elements of the CLP process in reflection of the previous discussions on the core factors and status of Fiji’s NFMS, the participants agreed on the next steps to start their CLP process.

Key outcomes

The Ministry of Forestry offered essential information on the country’s NFMS, from its history to present challenges and future goals. Technical issues and needs for measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) procedures were identified, as well as for NFMS governance. An overview of the national planning process was then provided by the Ministry of Forestry, highlighting the key technical and functional elements. The GFOI offered crucial information to set the foundation for country-led planning.

The workshop successfully accomplished the following objectives for the participants:

  • the current status of the NFMS in Fiji was outlined;
  • lessons learned, recommendations and challenges regarding the development of the NFMS in Fiji were identified;
  • a common understanding of the core factors of the NFMS was gained;
  • the fundamental elements of the CLP process were defined; and
  • the next steps to initiating the CLP process were agreed upon.

Moreover, the GFOI assisted with the preparation of a report depicting Fiji’s common vision for their NFMS and a summary of lessons learned as key deliverables of the programme. These documents are critical to advancing the CLP process through the establishment of a framework to capture best practices and lessons to later be applied in other countries.