Pharmaceutical Value Of Fiji’s Natural Resources Explored

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iTaukei Affairs ministry researching how resource owners can benefit

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Aug. 7, 2015) – iTaukei resource owners could soon know and benefit from the pharmaceutical value of their natural resources on sea and land.

This as research into the benefit of these natural resources is ready to begin.

The research will be conducted on 15 yet to be decided communities following a workshop currently being held in Suva.

The workshop will focus on access to genetic resources and benefit sharing.

Permanent secretary for iTaukei Affairs ministry, Savenaca Kaunisela launched the workshop that is based on the Nagoya protocol on access to natural resources and benefit sharing in Fiji.

"We have launched this workshop because this is something that not only concerns iTaukei people but it is a global concern.

"If it can be a source of life for the resource owners from the ocean to the land including what is visible and what is not with a naked eye," Mr Kaunisela said.

Mr Kaunisela said through UNDP they were able to access funds for the Nagoya Protocol in the work of preserving Fiji's natural resources.

UNDP environment team leader Winifereti Nainoca said Fiji was the first country in the world to have accessed funds for the Nagoya protocol.

She added the Department of Environment and the iTaukei Affairs ministry would be the executing agencies with the UNDP as implementing agent.

This allows the Fijian Government to access $US900,000 ($F $1.8m) from the United Nations Development Program to do research on Fiji's natural resources to see whether it has some pharmaceutical values.

"Essentially what is going to happen is that USP and FNU have to do the research to see if they will find something of pharmaceutical value. This is the initial project where if they find something then to explore further into another project to make it into a full size.

"At the beginning, this workshop will bring all the stakeholders together and we look at the program document, activities and the expected output.

"These two days they will see which role they will play and who they will be working with, the 15 communities will be where they'll get the natural resources through the iTaukei Affairs ministry," Mrs Nainoca said.

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