SOLOMONS FORESTRY BILL TO PROTECT BIODIVERSITY

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Measure aims to prevent logging abuses

By Eddie Osifelo HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, March 31, 2010) – In the Solomon Islands, the Protected Areas Bill 2010 got the backing of Parliament Monday.

This came after Members of Parliament saw the need to protect the biological diversity in the country after being over-exploited through developments like logging.

Biological diversity means the variability among living organisms from all sources, and includes terrestrial and marine species (including the genes they contain) and other aquatic ecosystems the ecological complexes of which they are part and the diversity within species, between species and of ecosystem, and biodiversity.

The Bill as Minister of Environment, Gordon Darcy Lilo said, will strengthen existing institutional arrangements to promote and properly regulate protected areas system and biodiversity conservation in Solomon Islands.

It is to:

Deputy Speaker and MP for North West Choiseul, Clement Kengava said if this ministry was formed 20 years ago our rainforests and wild life locations would not be affected by logging as was now the case.

However, he said this bill is a way forward to save the remaining rainforests and areas in the country.

Mr. Kengava said the bill comes at the right time as well especially when the country ventures into mining exploration.

However, Deputy Opposition Leader and MP for West Makira, Japhet Waipora warns the Government to deal with the issues with sensitivity because land is very important to people of Solomon Islands.

He said 85 percent of land in this country is customary owned therefore, Government should work closely with landowners on this issue.

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