Solomon Islands Now Ready for REDD+ Readiness
With the recent signing of Solomon Islands' initial National UN-REDD Programme Document, the country is now ready to begin the process of laying the foundations for its national REDD+ strategy.
The initial National UN-REDD Programme in the Solomon Islands will support the country's plans to lay out the basis for REDD+ readiness through six main areas of work: 1) supporting broad-based, multi-stakeholder consultations; 2) analysis of forest resource data; 3) developing a REDD+ roadmap; 4) awareness raising; 5) supporting the process for ensuring free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of Indigenous Peoples and other forest-dependent communities; and 6) developing capacities to formulate its reference emission levels (RELs) and systems for forest measurement, reporting and verification (MRV).
"The recent endorsement and signing of the UN-REDD National Programme Document for Solomon Islands is an important step forward for the country to put in place a national REDD+ strategy," says Chanel Iroi, Under Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Solomon Islands.
The Solomon Islands joined the UN-REDD Programme as a partner country in February 2010. In November of the same year, the country presented an initial National Programme Document to the UN-REDD Programme Policy Board and received approval for a budget allocation of US$550,000.
"Solomon Islands fully values the partnership with the UN-REDD Programme especially the tireless efforts of the staff of the UN-REDD Programme Secretariat. We would also like to thank the UNDP Bangkok regional office and Honiara UNDP sub office for the tremendous assistance in securing the endorsement of the document. We will now focus on implementing the project and the usual assistance of our partners will continue to be valued," says Iroi.
With the initial National Programme document now signed, implementation of the Programme will start soon after an inception workshop scheduled for later this month.
"It is an exciting process because it is one of the areas where if all partners work together, the results will be enormous not only for the environment but the resource owners as well," said Iroi.
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The total forest area in the Solomon Islands is approximately 2.2 million hectares, and the country has the highest per cent loss of forest in the South Pacific. The logging industry is the single most significant economic sector in the Solomon Islands. It contributes 67 per cent of export earnings, and some 12-13 per cent of total government revenue. As much as 50 per cent of the employed workforce may be associated directly or indirectly with the forest sector. Officially, annual export earnings in 2007 were approximately US$110 million.