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Fiji launches land use policy

Fiji launches land use policy


Fiji is launching a land use policy to guide sustainable development of its land resources — making it the first Pacific Island nation to do so.

The policy addresses critical issues such as the expansion of commercial cropping on to marginal lands, lack of land conservation measures for fragile soils, burning of grasslands and rapidly increasing deforestation, all fuelled by a growing population and commercialisation.

Titled ‘A Rural Land Use Policy for Fiji’, it was endorsed by the Fiji Cabinet in June and will be publicly launched on 2 September 2005 at the Tanoa Plaza in Suva.

Chief guest at the event will be the Minister of Agriculture, Sugar, and Land Resettlement, Illaitia Tuisese with Mr Tilman Enders, Acting Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Fiji.

“It has been a long journey towards this landmark, but now we come to the most important stretch — implementing the policy,” said Inoke Ratukalou, Director of the Department of Land Resources Planning and Development.

“The new policy will serve as an effective information and awareness tool and provide a rationale for land legislation, ensuring less arbitrary regulations. This is a big step towards promoting sustainable land management practices in rural communities.”

Developing the policy was a joint effort by Fiji’s Ministry of Agriculture, Sugar, and Land Resettlement and the SPC/GTZ Pacific-German Regional Forestry Project (PGRFP).

A participatory approach was used with more than 100 stakeholders, from more than 20 agencies, being consulted over a two-year period. The consultation process was financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development through the PGRFP.

The Rural Land Use Policy gives Fiji a framework for sustainable development.

With increasing intensification of agriculture, urban sprawl, and other demands on land, planned development and effective monitoring are fundamental to maintaining sustainable relationships between Fiji’s people and natural resources.

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