“The Government of Solomon Islands took an important step to develop a system of protected areas or areas where special measures need to be taken to conserve biological diversity, set up the administrative arrangements for protected areas and by extension promote environmental stewardship through the enactment of the Protected Areas Act 2010”
This statement was made by Dr. Melchior Mataki, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Environment climate change Disaster Management and Meteorology when addressing participants of an inception workshop to establish a Protected Areas Trust Fund (PATF) with support from the Integrated Forest Management Project in Solomon Islands, which is implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization.
PS Mataki said the establishment of a PATF is provided for under the Protected Areas Act as a special fund under section 100 (2) of the constitution, as one of the key means to meet the objectives of the Act.
He told participants that the urgency to set up the fund is very clear from the 2019 National State of Environment report that showed majority of our environmental indicators to be deteriorating in status. In addition, the preservation and protection of the environment is identified as a critical pillar of the 2020 national security strategy, as such the degradation of the environment is a threat to national security. Consequently, protected areas management and environmental protection must be supported with dedicated, predictable, requisite and sustainable financial resources to compliment national development budget allocation to the environment sector which is usually low compared to other sectors. For example, the environmental sector received only 1.39 percent out of total of about 3.86 billion dollars allocated for the development budget from 2016 – 2020.
Funding for the PATF will come from funds appropriated by parliament, donations and bequests and interests accrued through investment of the funds. The funds will be managed in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act and any other financial instruction that may arise from it.
The one-day workshop was attended by a wide representation of stakeholders covering government, NGOs, private sector and multilateral agencies and paved the way for the establishment of the PATF by July next year 2022.