A NEW training program implanted by FAO for Biodiversity Conservation and Protected Area Management in Fiji was recently announced.
The program aims at providing the necessary knowledge and skills at various levels of society to implement the International Convention of Biodiversity. The Fijian Minister for Forests, Osea Naiqamu, launched the training course program in the Fijian capital of Suva.
“The training program is designed to enhance the appreciation of the importance of biological diversity and ecological services and goods that the forests provide, understanding the impacts of climate change, stressing the importance of sustainable forest and land use practices, whilst making connections to meeting daily livelihood needs,” he said.
“The training program has been developed to develop the skill set and knowledge base that will enhance the capacity for decision-making and governance, planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting.”
The FAO Subregional Coordinator for the Pacific Islands, Ms Eriko Hibi, described in her speech the FAO Forest Protection and Management (FPAM) project support in Fiji and emphasized the importance of the interface between communities’ acceptance of and benefits from protected area establishment.
The course program is composed of 24 modules which are packaged on 6 different levels with specific entry qualifications. The modules will cover topics from biodiversity conservation measures, linkages between livelihoods, well-being and biodiversity conservation, climate change, integration of local knowledge, sustainable land and forest management, protected area management, eco-tourism, Governance and rapid assessment, practical communication skills, partnership and planning, policy and international commitments, to planning and financing of PAs strategic planning.
The training is designed for community members and – organizations, the industry – and private sector organizations, training institutions, municipalities, government and non-government organizations, resource and land owners, policy makers and has links to bachelor degree level qualification at the University of South Pacific, Fiji National University and the University of Fiji.
The Forest Training Centre (FTC) will offer this new training program in addition to the forest technician training course.
Furthermore, custom made training courses like a one-week training in basics of biodiversity conservation and protected area management will be offered as well.
One of such course started at the launch for all communities of the FPAM protected area project sites in Fiji. FAO’s Forest and Protected Area Management project assisted the Forest Training Centre with the review of existing and the design of the new training course program.
The first two level trainings will be offered soon while the remaining levels are still in development.
The FTC will not limit its training to Fiji; based on its old tradition in forestry training this program will be made available to the other Pacific Island Countries.
Thus FAO with its FPAM project responded to the acute lack of skills and capacity in the Pacific region for biodiversity conservation.
Filling this gap will assist with the implementation of conservation and other initiatives, lead to the empowerment of communities and contribute essentially to the sustainable development goals.