3 Oct 2005

Regional forest management meeting opens in Fiji

11:39 am on 3 October 2005

Public officials from six Pacific countries are meeting in Fiji to discuss the part that sustainable forest management can play in development.

Five officials each, from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji, and three officials each from Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga, have been invited.

The aim is to find agreement on common policies over the four-day meeting.

Ben Lowings reports from Nadi.

"The Secretariat of the Pacific Community is organising the conference with funding from a German regional initiative. The secretariat asserts that tree planting can contribute to reducing hardship and poverty. For example, the coconut tree is one of the mainstays of civilisation in the region, providing shelter, food, fuel and income. Conference participants are to learn more about he traditional and cultural aspects of forest management which will attract indigenous tree species and guarantee the forest is renewed. The Pacific Community says foresters in the region can make their industry sustainable but it says at the moment they are short of basic resources."