Suva, Fiji - Rapid decline in areas of natural forests, unsustainable farming and logging are the main causes of land degradation in Fiji. Overuse of forest for timber and its clearance for agriculture also contribute to this problem. This is associated with increases in soil erosion which threatens coastal lagoons and marine life.

To address this problem, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Fiji is embarking on a four year project on Capacity Building and Mainstreaming Sustainable Land Management in Fiji.

The signing ceremony for the project was held today at the UNDP office in Suva.

“The project will work towards the reduction of land degradation by promoting the use of sustainable and environmentally responsible practices, filtering into the economic and social well being of the people,” the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Toily Kurbanov said.

He added the Project will allow farmers and landowners to be trained on land management techniques and train agricultural officials and NGOs in the management of land information systems such as the Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Land Information Systems (LIS), Remote Sensing and so forth.

Representing the Fiji Government at today’s signing were the Permanent Secretary Agriculture, Mr Richard Bayer, Director of Environment Mr Epeli Nasome and representatives of the Ministry of Finance and Department of Land Resources Planning and Development.

UNDP in partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) aims to improve ecosystems through this project by providing necessary resources to make stakeholders aware of the need for Sustainable Land Management (SLM) and its prominence in national policies.

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