Toily Kurbanov: Welcome Address at the Opening of the Re-Alignment of the National Action Plan for Sustainable Land Management Workshop

28 Mar 2012

The Permanent Secretary for Department of Agriculture: Mr. Mason Smith,Distinguished representatives of national government ministries, civil society, academia and media,Development partners, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Ni Sa Bula Vinaka and Namaste

On behalf of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) I warmly welcome all of you to the Re-alignment of the National Action Plan for Sustainable Land Management Workshop.

To begin with UNDP acknowledges with deep appreciation the efforts of the Department of Agriculture in executing the Fiji Sustainable Land Management (SLM) Project since its inception in 2008. Through this project communities are being provided with appropriate technical knowledge, enabling them to make informed decisions about their land use practices.

At the outset I would like to emphasize the importance of strong coordination and collaboration at all levels; amongst government ministries and with regional agencies, non- governmental organizations and other development partners. I encourage you all to strengthen such efforts by identifying innovative ways of promoting stronger leadership and cooperation.
Discussions and deliberations during this workshop will enhance learning opportunities amongst stakeholders. The sharing of experiences including lessons learnt and best practices from demonstration sites would form key components of discussions. UNDP encourages the replication of success stories and up-scaling of impacts.

Land management is a topic that encompasses many other sectors of the economy including forestry, agriculture, industrialization and tourism. With the increasing demand for land in Fiji, there is increasing pressure to promote economic growth which is not only beneficial but does not compromise the ability of present as well as future generations to meet their needs. This workshop is timely as it will assist Fiji to advocate for sustainable land management on behalf of Fiji and other Pacific Islands at the Rio +20 Conference on Sustainable Development.

UNDP is deeply convinced that productive deliberations of this workshop will strengthen and develop partnerships and coordination so that the impacts of the SLM project are sustained beyond 2012.

Vinaka and Dhanyavaad.