Representatives from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Oceania, Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF), Pacific Community (SPC), Fiji’s Ministry for Agriculture (UNCCD focal point), University of the South Pacific's (USP) PACE –SD, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH met in Suva, Fiji from 26-27 May for the Forest technical working group (TWG) meeting.
The meeting was an opportunity for TWG members to provide advice and guidance to IUCN in its efforts to refine IUCN’s 2017 -2020 Regional Forest and Soils Programme as well as discuss a Regional Forest Management Framework and Regional Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) Programme.
According to IUCN Oceania’s Regional Programme Coordinator, Mason Smith, the objective of the meeting was for TWG members to provide advice and guidance to IUCN’s efforts to create a niche to support the work already being carried out by the forest stakeholders in the region.
"We have to shape a programme that will first of all ensure that we do not duplicate what others are doing and secondly provide expert technical support that is available to IUCN. We want to ensure that we work in partnership with stakeholders that are already doing forestry work in the region and bringing that comparative advantage that IUCN has to assist with forestry work.”
Mason added that they had a lot of on-going challenges to deal with and the only way they would address those challenges was by working together – from academic training for future foresters as well as the TWG members providing technical advice to personnel working on the ground providing key connection with the communities.
The next meeting of the TWG is planned for September 2016.