Promoting Sustainable Resource Management and the Protection of Fiji's Environment Through Law
Fiji Environmental Law Association
The Fiji Environmental Law Association welcomes its new member of the team, Ms Patricia Parkinson. Patricia joins FELA as a part of the Australian Volunteer for International Development (AVID) Program. She is a French-Australian environmental law specialist with a wealth of experience, having previously worked with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a senior environmental legal officer. She will be based with FELA for a year where she will focus on building staff capacity. Patricia is a valuable addition to FELA and we look forward to working with her.
FELA attended a 2 day workshop hosted by the US Embassy on Effective Digital and Social Media Strategies for Non Profits Organisations. The workshop was conducted by the Communications Specialist from the University of Illinois, Chicago, Mr Richard O’Rourke.
The workshop was also attended by communications and public relations officers from other NGOs and Government Departments determined to learn how to better utilize various communications tools and social media to attain communications goals.
FELA launched its first publication of the Turtle Enforcement Toolkit titled, “Saving Sea Turtles: A Guide for Law Enforcement" on the 28th of August at the Holiday Inn, Suva.
The Turtle Enforcement Toolkit is designed to improve enforcement of Turtle breaches in Fiji. Designed to give its readers a simple and clear outline of the laws in place regarding sea turtles, the enforcement authorities protecting the species and tips for enforcement authorities with regards to dealing with infringements. The Enforcement Guide introduces its readers to 2 main domestic laws in Fiji protecting turtles and identifies all the criminal offences, provides tips for investigation, defines roles of enforcement officers and their responsibilities.
This exciting event was well attended by members of the Department of Fisheries, the Acting Commissioner of Police, Representative of the DPP members of various NGOs and members of the Public.
The Turtle Enforcement Toolkit is currently being translated in the iTaukei language .and Copies of the English and iTaukei versions will be is available for purchase at the USP Book Center and FELA Office shortly.
School students and teachers from various Primary Schools in Suva participated in the FELA Primary School Outreach Program on Protecting Fiji’s Sea Turtles.
Sea Turtles are listed as “Critically Endangered Species” under the Convention on the International Trade of Wild Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES). The survival of the species is dependent on the awareness of our future leaders and stewards.
Guest speaker, Ms Jacqueline Nalomaca from the Department of Fisheries presented on the life cycle of the different species of Sea Turtles and the threats that Sea Turtles face throughout their lifespan that is contributing to its’ rapid depletion as she shared her personal experiences working with Sea Turtles around the country.
The University of the South Pacific—Institute of Applied Science (IAS) Team led by Mr Apisai were in Rakiraki undergoing a Mangrove Rehabilitation Project. The Environmental Law Association were invited to participate in the mangrove planting following the first day of the Fisheries Training Workshop in Vitawa Village, Rakiraki.
The IAS project team planted over two thousand mangrove seedlings in Narewa Village and continues to rehabilitate mangroves throughout the area.
Representatives from the Department of Fisheries, Ra Provincial Council, Police, Yaubula Committee Groups, Women's and Youth Groups, (Youth) and Fish Wardens attended the workshop that was designed (to help read and understand the Fisheries Act 1942, Endangered and Protected Species Act 2002 and their regulations to improve enforcement. ) to foster better understanding of Fiji's Fisheries laws and regulations in order to improve its enforcement.
The 3 day workshop entailed interactive presentations (by the Department of Fisheries and FELA, presentations by the participants of various groups and )that included participant role plays on various scenarios of Fisheries enforcement.(Enforcing the law in the event of an infringement and the roles and powers of the various enforcement authorities)
The Fiji Environmental Law Association in collaboration with the University of the South Pacific - Institute of Applied Science (team) conducted a 3 day training on Fiji's Environment Management Act (EMA) with particular focus on the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and gravel extraction.
Representatives from Government Departments including Department of Environment, Fisheries, Police, Rural Local Authority, Provincial Office, Community chiefs and leaders, women and youth attended the training that was designed to create legal awareness on EMA and the EIA process
and its relevance to development activities, particularly gravel extraction and mining, clarify the roles and responsibilities of the authorized agencies and enforcement officers in the EIA process, create awareness on compliance procedures of EMA and the EIA process and practical application and understanding of the process through site visitation to existing development projects.
The 3 day workshop entailed interactive presentations (by the Department of Environment, Ra Provincial Council, Forest, Ra Rural Local Authority, FELA and presentations by the participants of various groups. The training also entailed a site visit to the Golden Point Resort, a recently approved coastal development i.e. hotel featuring dramatic changes to the coastal area, removal of mangroves and building of artificial features including trenches and man-made lagoon. Participants were given the opportunity to raise questions to the managing director on the EIA process, length of time taken to receive approvals, qoliqoli compensation and access to fishing areas post compensation.
FELA WELCOME SENIOR ENVIRONMENT LAWYER
The Fiji Environmental Law Association in collaboration with the University of the South Pacific - Institute of Applied Science (team) conducted a 3 day Fisheries Workshop at Vitawa Village in Rakiraki under the Ra Integrated Coastal Management Project.
It is with great sadness and with fond memories that the Fiji Environmental Law Association (FELA) bids farewell to its Patron, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, or to all of us: Ratu Joni.
Ratu Joni recognised and appreciated Fiji's natural environment and had a clear understanding of indigenous and community rights and the responsibilities that come with those rights. One of Ratu Joni's many gifts was his eloquence and his willingness to address difficult issues that he recognised often came wrapped up with deep emotions.
Ratu Joni's many roles and responsibilities took him away from Fiji in recent years and to other Pacific Islands who undoubtedly benefitted from his intellect, easy manner, innate graciousness and his human rights based approach to legal matters. Even though he was frequently overseas he remained in constant touch with FELA and took the time to check in with us, and whenever he could he attended FELA organised events where he became an eager participant and willing speaker.
For the time that he was with us Ratu Joni lent us his interest, his support, his guidance and his considerable and unique abilities as a teacher. We recognise Ratu Joni was many things to many people, but for FELA he was part of our establishment and we owe him a considerable debt of thanks.[On behalf of the FELA Board, Executive Management Committee, Coordinator, staff, and associated members]
WHALE HUNT IN OUR WATERS
JAPAN'S decision to send a whaling fleet into the Pacific for "scientific research" faces strong opposition in the region. Whale advocates in the Pacific, including Fiji, said the move was not justified after a court ruling by the International Court of Justice last month banned the Japanese fleets from whaling off Antarctica because Japan was whaling commercially, not for scientific reasons as it had previously claimed.
The primary purpose of the Environmental Law Association (FELA) is to promote the sustainable management of natural resources through law. FELA was formed with the support and assistance of the Oceania Office of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a result of concerns that many in the legal community had about the apparent lack of general awareness on issues pertaining to the environment. Despite Fiji having a wide range of environmental laws, it was generally accepted that many were neither effectively implemented nor enforced. FELA seeks to remedy this shortcoming.