Discussions at the Solomon Islands Prime Minister’s Roundtable on Development, Society and Environment continues today in Honiara with logging being the subject of the morning session.
The Solomon Islands’ forestry industry faces the challenges of unsustainable logging and the unregulated conversion of forests to other land uses.
In his keynote speech, Mr Wulf Killman of GIZ stated that the forestry industry cannot be short sighted and needs to meet the needs of today’s generation as well as those of future generations.
He said that for a sustainable forestry industry there must be a balance between its economic, social and environmental dimensions.
“If Solomon Islands wants to deal with this problem, it needs to improve its land-use planning, improve the participatory processes (through free prior informed consent), adopt appropriate forest legislation and ensure its enforcement,” Mr Killman suggested.
Mr Killman said that Costa Rica, by taking appropriate action, was able to increase its forest cover from 21% in 1987 to 47% by 2008. “The same can be done in Solomon Islands,” he concluded.
The participants of this forestry discussion agreed that although there are a few logging companies that abide by the country’s laws and regulations, and even enjoy sustainability certification, there are a number of them that act in a rogue manner and are tainting the reputation of the whole industry.
They insisted that there were a number of ways to put the industry on a sustainable footing for instance by strengthening the enforcement of the legislation and regulations already in place, reviewing current legislation, ensuring that all companies are members of the Solomon Islands Forest Industry Association (as required by law) before they can operate, and ensuring that replanting with indigenous tree species is taken up seriously by the industry.
The Solomon Islands Prime Minister’s Roundtable on Development, Society and Environment continues in the afternoon with discussions on the education and fisheries sectors.
The three day Roundtable, ending on 6 March, is the Solomon Islands Government’s initiative to find an effective way to achieve a more inclusive model of development – a development model that benefits all the people of Solomon Islands. It is being attended by over 30 representatives of government, the private sector and civil society from Solomon Islands.
The event is being supported by IUCN and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:
Mark Borg, Strategic Membership, Partnership & Project Development Officer, IUCN Oceania Regional Office, +679 7772873, e firstname.lastname@example.org
Salote Sauturaga, IUCN Oceania Regional Office Communications Officer, m+679 7437512, e email@example.com