On the 10th of May, eight Fijian clans (mataqalis) will be gathering with Fijian dignitaries to celebrate the country’s first sale of rainforest carbon offsets.
Nestled in the mountains of Vanua Levu is the site of Fiji’s first community-owned rainforest carbon site. Forest dependent locals have collectively agreed to conserve their environment and produce verified carbon offsets rather than sign away their land to logging.
The Drawa Forest Carbon project is part of the regional Nakau Programme and is coordinated within Fiji by local NGO, Live & Learn. Revenue raised through the sale of carbon credits is reinvested into the community through a detailed and independently monitored benefits sharing program. The communities have also elected to invest some of the revenue raised into local honey production, deriving further benefit from the intact, now protected forest.
Aminiasi Vocea from the Drawa community describes the clans coming together to turn down logging contracts; “We have become unified…and there is pride in this decision. This is a decision we made so that our children can have access to the benefits that we grew up with.”
“Through the project, we have come to realise the role our forest plays in the global community and towards climate change,” states Jerry Lotawa from Drawa, “at the end of the day, we want a better future for our children, wherever they go. Given the opportunity to gain from our forest without exploiting it, we will choose it.”
The project has been in development for seven years. Anjali Nelson, from the Nakau Programme describes “This first sale is a momentous and long-awaited occasion for these communities. We are proud to be a part of the first official sale of carbon credits in Fiji and to have demonstrated an ethical, fair-trade styled approach to rainforest carbon management which is leading the way for sustainable financing of conservation and adaptation work in the Pacific.”
Swedish companies ZeroMission and OPUS Bilprovning were the first to purchase Drawa carbon credits. Both companies are environmentally conscious and seek to reduce their impact on the climate. The purchase highlights the critical importance of forests not just locally, but internationally.
Noting Fiji’s role as UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP) presidency for 2018; the event is demonstrative of Fiji’s resolution towards advocacy for mitigation and adaptive solutions at the international arena for climate change negotiations.
For more information
Anjali Nelson – CO-Founder of The Nakau Programme
+61 473 927 211
“We grew up knowing the value of our forests and treasuring our environment. Following a series of training, we have come to realise the role our forest play in the global community and towards climate change. At the end of the day, we want a better future for our children, wherever they go. Given the opportunity to gain from our forest without exploiting it, we will choose it.” Jerry Lotawa - Mataqali Navunicau
Thomas from Opus Bilprovning (an environmentally responsible Swedish business partner) took part in the traditional Sevu Sevu ceremony while visiting the Nakau Drawa forest carbon project in Fiji. Custom practices remain incredibly important to the people of Drawa and are respected through the projects!