Friday, April 13, 2012

Melanesia Blue Carbon Initiative Called For

Melanesian Leaders calls for a Blue Carbon Initiative 

The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) consisting of Fiji,  FLNKS, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, recently signed the "MSG Leaders Declaration on Environment & Climate Change", an effort to fight climate change.

The declaration acknowledges the crucial role of mangroves, wetlands, coastal swamps and sea grass beds in sequestering and storing carbon and called for a " Melanesia Blue Carbon Initiative".

Leaders pledge to fight climate change

31 March 2012/by Tevita Vuibau/The Fiji Times Online

Fiji's Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, front right, with RFMF Land Force Commander Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga arrive for the opening of the MSG Leaders Summit. Photo by The Fiji Times

Leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group have taken a stand against climate change with the signing of the "MSG Leaders Declaration on Environment & Climate Change" yesterday.

The declaration was endorsed after the inaugural MSG climate change meeting that took place in Nadi.

In signing the declaration, the leaders acknowledged the critical importance of a healthy environment for the long term livelihoods of the people of Melanesia.

Under the declaration, a "Framework for Growth" was also adopted. The framework will form the basis for all development and notes the threats of climate change to the viability of some of the MSG's island countries.

The leaders also called for a "Melanesia Blue Carbon Initiative" that will recognise the significant role of mangroves, wetlands, coastal swamps and sea grass beds in removing carbon from the environment.

A "Melanesia Terrestrial Commitment" for conservation was also established during the MSG meetings.

The commitment will contribute to the conservation, sustainable management and restoration of the terrestrial environment and coastal ecosystems.

According to the MSG secretariat, the commitment also formalises an obligation from each of the members to conserve and manage forests, major water catchments and river systems and other eco-systems. It will also ensure that sustainable land practices are applied to agriculture and development.

"Traditional landowner communities will be effectively engaged and supported in the process of managing and conserving their environment," said the secretariat.