Statement By Dr VAENO VIGULU
PERMANENT SECRETARY MINISTRY OF FORESTRY AND RESEARCH
Today, marks one of those very important days when the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed in 2012, that on every 21st March the International Day of Forests (IDF) shall be commemorated around the world annually.
This is in recognition of forest’s pivotal role in our traditions, social interaction, and economic lives; thus, we shall celebrate and raise awareness about the importance of all types of forests on this day.
The theme for 2022 is “FORESTS AND SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION”.
This theme simply makes a reflection of how we as humans, the custodians of this world use our forest resources in the past, present and going forward beyond on a carefully thought and balance formula where our ancestors have used, then we continued to do so, and our children’s children will enjoy the same.
This consistent trend brings about the term sustainability where we are bound to use practically in forest resource production or consumption.
Lest we forget, when we drink a glass of water, write in a notebook, take medicine for a fever, or build a house, we do not always make the connection with forests.
And yet, these and many other aspects of our lives are linked to forests in one way or another.
Solomon Islands acknowledges being part of the United Nations and it recognises the roles it plays in the international and regional affairs especially in recognising the key essential sectors such as the forest sector through the many activities and events on International Forest Day.
As an island nation with scattered islands that depends heavily on forest timber resources for revenue generation, housing materials, furniture makings and ecosystem services, with a continued increasing reliance on our forest resources as population increases and rising dynamic demands going into the next decades and beyond.
The message fostered before us in the theme for this year’s international forest day celebration must be seriously considered, absorbed, and digested properly.
There is no instant miracle in this, forest sustainable management and their properly use of resources are key to combating climate change, and to contributing to the prosperity and well-being of our current and future generations.
Forests also play a crucial role in poverty alleviation and in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet despite all these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate.
Wood helps to provide bacteria-free food and water in many kitchens, build countless furniture and utensils, replace materials as harmful as plastic, create new fibers for our clothes and, through technology, be part of the fields of medicine or the space race.
Thus, it is vital to consume and produce wood in a more environmentally friendly way for the planet and us, its inhabitants. Let us all protect this easily renewable resource with a sustainable management of forests.
Our national government, the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) is at the forefront on this, finding the best alternative had developed a National Forest Policy (NFP).
Purposely to address the growing problem of unsustainable practices which caused escalating degradation of the forest environment and ecosystem services significant to the health of our island rainforests and rural communities.
It is also equally important to manage and provide options to the declining trend of logging operations and monetary benefits. It will be a driving catalyst to promote the applications of sustainability in a holistic approach with emphasis to enable greater participation of all forest stakeholders.
By setting the standards for commercial logging, reforestation, and other related activities, and allows for the development of supportive and enabling legislations to implement and enhance enforcement measures on key strategic areas.
This Policy broadly recognises the multiple uses and benefits that the forestry sector
provides to Solomon Islands as a country and society, its people, and the resource owners through its many economic, social, and ecological benefits.
This year, DCGA’s redirection on priority policies encompasses promotion of downstream processing activities and sustainable development of logging programme to ensure and promote principles of sustainable forest management, good practice, monitoring, governance, work on alternative forest timber and non-timber products, ecosystem services through agroforestry systems, reforestation, enrichment, and regeneration management on the logged over islands degraded and deforested landscapes.
This is a seriousness of a step further towards harnessing a properly managed forest resources that can help sustain us, as we continue to harvest and benefit from our forest resources by our very own government.
Finally, it is also our responsibility as Solomon Islanders, be it in whatever works of life. We all have a role to play within our respective organisations, schools, churches, communities’, villages, households and as individuals to the forest.
I am sure we all intertwine with the forest and its resources from birth, either way, we use it for many purposes to our own likings, but we are so greedy that we did nothing to reciprocate its valuable service to us.
Let us not back-down to giving to our very forest resources in the simplest way today, think trees! And plants trees! Instead of cutting them and forgetting to replace.
That said, the onus to properly manage our forest resources is in our own hands which I believe we all know who we are and what we should do to properly manage when harvesting or production and consumption from our forest resources.
Let us all protect this easily renewable resource with a sustainable management of forests for ourselves and for our future generations to come.
Happy International Forest Day 2022.