In January 2021, Fiji became the first small island developing state to sign an Emissions Reduction Payment Agreement (ERPA) with the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) to operationalize its five-year REDD+ Emission Reduction Program (ERP).
This is a milestone achievement in years of work dedicated to REDD+ in the country. The ERP is a multi-agency-led program with the Ministry of Forestry leading the implementation of activities on the ground. The Ministry of Economy as the signatory for the ERPA will facilitate the trade of carbon sequestered from these activities.
Forests are the lungs of the Earth and the activities under the ERP will promote carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation. Fiji’s emission reductions program will address the main drivers of deforestation and forest degradation through integrated land use planning, native forest conservation, and sustainable pine and mahogany plantations. Other aspects will focus on community-driven afforestation, climate-smart agroforestry, and alternative livelihoods initiatives.
These efforts are designed to provide job opportunities and improve livelihoods for local communities. The program will also include training and agricultural extension services to establish community plantations and woodlots as well as improving kava and vanilla agro-forestry systems. These sustainable land-use techniques help to boost incomes while also reducing pressure on forests.
The program which had its official soft launch on 13 July 2021, covers 90 percent of Fiji’s landmass, focusing on the islands of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni where 86 percent of the population lives. The initiative aims to reduce emissions by 2.5 million tonnes over five years and will also contribute to restoration of ecosystem services essential for increasing resilience to climate change, such as soil retention and flood regulation.
The 2.5 million tonnes of carbon mitigated would be traded with the FCPF and the proceeding from this trade will be equitably shared amongst the participants using a benefit sharing plan.
The Emissions Reduction Program has seriously prompted the Fijian Government to look at Carbon as a commodity, thus required the recognition of carbon property rights under the Climate Change Act 2021. Fiji’s pristine forests and land masses are perfect for the forests to thrive and be carbon sequesters for the betterment of our climate, environment and the livelihood of our people.
Fiji REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation)
Fiji Emissions Reduction Entity – Mitigation Stream