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ROADMAP CAPTURES ENVIRONMENT ASPIRATIONS
Government’s Roadmap for Democracy and Sustainable Socio-Economic Development 2009-2014 addresses sustainable use and the development of Fiji’s natural resources and ecological progress.
Acting Minister for Local Government and Environment, Mr Jone Usamate, said Fiji, like all other small Pacific Island nations, is vulnerable to many environmental problems such as pollution, land degradation, biodiversity loss, and climate change.
The roadmap is a policy document that Government uses to guide all its projects and programmes for the next four years.
Speaking at the opening of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in Nadi today, Minister Usamate said tackling environmental problems has been a priority for Government. He said that government was grateful for the assistance by the GEF because of this priority.
“The Fiji Government conveys its deepest gratitude to the GEF for the role it has played as an independent operating financial organization providing financial assistance for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer and persistent organic pollutants to many countries in the region,” the Minister said.
Mr Usamate said Fiji is one of the countries relying on GEF funds to implement environmental projects that address its focal areas.
However, he said there have been some challenges in fully accessing and exploiting the total country allocation by Fiji.
“This workshop provides an excellent opportunity to enhance each country’s knowledge of GEF policies, processes and procedures, and this in turn will lead to full utilization of GEF allocations,” Mr Usamate said.
The GEF is a highly reputed funding agency that has provided assistance by uniting 182 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organisations and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives.
Some of the areas of concern that GEF funding has helped address in Fiji include integrated water resource management programme, sustainable land management and implementation of Ozone Depletion Substance programmes, Mr Usamate said.The three-day GEF Expanded Constituency Workshop (ECW) is being attended by United Nations agencies, regional organisations and by countries that tap into GEF finances and the meeting ends on a high note with a tour of domestic project sites.