Thursday, 17 December 2009

Tetepare Island goes REDD in the Solomon Islands

Evan Wasuka, Solomon Islands One Television, Climate Pasifika 
Copenhagen, 17 December - Tetepare Island in the Solomon Islands has the unique distinction of being one of the world’s largest uninhabited islands.
In a country dominated by logging its 12,000 hectares of virgin forests is a rarity and the island has been managed as a conservation area by a local organization the Tetepare Descendants Association.

On the other side of the world Tetepare, is once again breaking new ground by gaining the endorsement of the Solomon Islands government to be the country’s first pilot project for the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation otherwise known as REDD.

Although no national framework is in place for REDD the association will move ahead to prepare the groundwork for Solomon Islands eventual participation in the initiative.

The director of the Solomon Islands Community Conservation Partnership Keyvan Izadi says the Tetepare Island project which has been ongoing since the 2002 has the natural attributes to become a REDD project.

“We feel this is a ready made project for accessing carbon investment,” Izadi told reporters at a press conference in Copenhagen.

The Solomon Islands Minister for Environment Gordon Darcy Lilo says his government has given its backing to Tetepare because it is a “win-win situation,” both for the conservation of forests and for the economic return islanders can get out of the carbon trade.

“This will empower local communities to be part of the solution to the global climate crisis,” said Lilo.

Currently the carbon trade is occurring internationally on a voluntary basis.

The REDD initiative will offer developing countries a chance to save their forests in return for carbon credits which can sold to developed countries.

Solomon Islands is among the countries at the UN Climate talks that are backing REDD to be included in the final agreement at Copenhagen.

“This project will protect the ecosystem of one of the unique islands in the Pacific,” said Lilo.

Tetepare is 144 square kilometers in size and is one of the remaining large unlogged islands in the Solomon Islands.  Allan Tippet Bero of the TDA says the islands natural resources are in tact and undisturbed including its marine life.

He says Tetepare inclusion in REDD would continue to conserve the islands resources.

“There can no more powerful response to climate change than a grassroots response…this project will be sustainable because it is the community that is supporting it," said the environment minister.

“We are not passive victims of climate change we can be part of the solution."

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