Fiu Mata’ese Elisara next GFC Board Chair
The Global Forest Coalition is delighted to announce the appointment of Fiu Mata’ese Elisara as the next Chair of the Coalition’s Board. Fiu is currently Executive Director of the Ole Siosiomaga Society (OLSSI) in Samoa, an environmental NGO with a strong focus on Indigenous Peoples’ issues. He will replace Marta Zogbi (Argentina) who will soon step down after five years as Board member. He will be responsible for overseeing the coalition’s global activities and its focus on rights-based forest policies in the global north and south. As an indigenous Samoan and a Pacific Islander, Fiu has lived in Samoa most of his life and has represented the Indigenous Peoples in many global conferences. He has also worked for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and for the Samoan government on environmental and Indigenous Peoples’ issues. He helped provide leadership for the Pacific delegation to the first ever Summit on climate change for Indigenous Peoples in 2009. Fiu also represented the Pacific Indigenous Peoples during the United Nations Climate Change meetings in Bonn, Bangkok, Barcelona and Copenhagen in 2009.
Impressive network of partners
Commenting on his appointment, Fiu said “I am humbled by this global appointment and excited by the prospect of overseeing the immense work of the Global Forest Coalition (GFC) in the world. My work as Chair of the GFC Board will be made easier with the professional support of the GFC’s Coordination Group and committed staff around the globe and the impressive network of partners who will combine to provide an extraordinary opportunity to influence forest policies around the world. I consider forests as the lungs of Mother Earth and feel very honored as a Samoan and Pacific Islander to be appointed to this very important and privileged position. I look forward to contribute my energies toward realizing GFC’s important mission.”
Second indigenous member
Fiu will be the second indigenous member on GFC’s Board: Estebancio Castro Diaz from Panama, executive secretary of the International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests, accepted his nomination to serve on GFC’s Board in February. Simone Lovera (Dutch, based in Paraguay), GFC’s managing coordinator, in announcing the appointments said ‘Fiu’s and Estebancio’s skills and experience make them greatly suited to the task of overseeing the Global Forest Coalition at a time when forests and Indigenous Peoples survival are threatened by climate change and false solutions like market-based ‘reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation’ (REDD) and industrial bio-energy.’