Promoting Sustainable Resource Management and the Protection of Fiji's Environment Through Law

Fiji Environmental Law Association

Gina Zheng

The Ministry of Fisheries continues to protect Turtles under Regulation 5 of the Offshore Fisheries Management Decree 2014.

A Public Notice released on 26th January, 2019 bans the harvest, sale, possession and transport of sea Turtles, their eggs or any part or product.  Members of the public are advised that a breach of the regulation 5 of the OFMD may result in criminal charges with penalties  from $10,000 to $50,000 for individuals and  for Corporations - $20,000 to $100,000.  




Hefty Penalties for Breach of Turtle Regulations! 

The Fiji Environmental Law Association (FELA) welcomes the new Green Growth Framework for Fiji (GGFF) as a significant step forward in ensuring sustainable resource management and the protection of the environment. A prudent efficient and sustainable relationship with nature was adopted as a founding value of the Constitution of Fiji. The GGFF is intrinsic to fulfilling the constitutional right to a clean and healthy environment and inclusive sustainable development. The GGFF proposes short, medium and long term goals to achieve its objectives of a blue-green economy under the three basic components of sustainability i.e. economic, environment and social sustainability. The GGFF recognises that a crucial pre-condition for sustainable development is the strengthening of the national enabling environment. This entails :

(i) The importance of meaningful participation from all national stakeholders, private sector, development partners and the community;
(ii) Integration of all sustainable principles into national plans;
(iii)Addressing the data gap and ensuring informed decision making is supported by full risk and cost-benefit analysis;
(iv) Prioritising human resource development to enhance and develop skills in engineering, science and technology;
(v) Strengthening internal governance mechanisms and addressing inadequate legal and institutional frameworks.

In light of the principles and objectives set out in the GGFF, FELA looks forward with interest to the actual implementation of the GGFF and the realisation of a conducive environment which promotes and endorses informed and inclusive decision making, commitment to sustainable development and the adherence to the rule of law in all matters pertinent to the use of our country’s natural resources.

Vinaka.

PRimary School waste management awareness program - Saint Marcellin

FELA in collaboration with the Department of Environment hosted a series of legal training programs in Suva and Lautoka entitled "Environment Impact Assessments: Improving Public Participation and Decision Making for Coastal Developments in the Provinces". The Suva program ran from the 27th - 29th October 2014 at the holiday Inn, and the Lautoka Program ran from the 11th - 13th November 2014 at the Tanoa Waterfront Hotel.

The Program was based on the Environment Management Act 2005 (EMA) with particular focus on the Environment Impact Assessments (EIA) process and its application to coastal developments. It was designed to strengthen and improve public participation and decision making for coastal communities in the Provinces by developing the capacity of Conservation Officers appointed under the auspices of the I-Taukei Affairs Board.

FELA was pleased to see the number of participants representing various organisations, government agencies and firms at both the Suva and Lautoka program.

The participant list included the following:

Conservation Officers for the Ra, Bua, Cakaudrove, Macuata, Kadavu, Rewa, Serua and Lomaiviti Provinces.

Government representatives from Vanuatu, Samoa, Tuvalu and Tonga who were able to travel to Fiji and participate in the legal training program through the generous support of the US Embassy, Suva.

Government representatives from relevant resource management Ministries in Fiji.

Legal Practitioners from various firms in Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.

FELA would likd to extend its sincere appreciation to the sponsers, The David & Luclie Packard Foundation, The Embassy of the United States of America, Suva and USAid for their generous support.

FELA would also like to thank all the participants for their interest and contributions to the program. We appreciate and look forward to your continued support

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Fiji Environmental Law Association’s (FELA) first Update Forum on marine management law and policy for 2018, which posed the following question to the forum attendants: in the context of the latest national and regional law and policy developments, what is at stake for Fiji’s sustainable management of marine resources?


Throughout the two-day forum, participants engaged in both vigorous academic and policy discussion – based on FELA and the Environmental Defenders Office – New South Wales (EDONSW)’s recently published discussion and scoping papers – as well as a practical site-visit to a Marine Protected Area (MPA) at Serua Island organised by the Fiji Locally Marine Managed Association (FLMMA), provided a full-rounded perspective on the multi-disciplinary and synergetic forces shaping the development of marine management law and policy. 

fela eNVIRONMENT IMPACT ASSESSMENT LEGAL TRAINING SUVA & LAUTOKA

"fiji should set up action to protect human rights from environmental risks"




un special rapporteur press release

Marine Management law and policy forum 2018

primary school waste management awareness program

the learning centre (tlc)

FELA along with its partner the Suva City Council were invited to The Learning Centre at Matanitobua Street, Samabula on 08th September,2014 to talk about waste management to its students. FELA officers were treated to a warm reception of song and were encouraged by the depth of understanding shown by the students during impromptu question and answer breaks. FELA would like to thank the faculty and students of The Learning Centre for their participation and extends our sincere thanks and appreciation for the invitation by Head Teacher, Mr. Henry Tui Elder and Deputy Head Teacher Mr. Michael Koroi.

​FELA’s first Update Forum for the year brought together a diverse range of participants: representatives from the Government of Fiji’s Ministry of Lands and Ministry of Mineral Resources, University of South Pacific, World Wide Fun and the Pacific Islands Forums were in attendance. At the conclusion of the Update Forum, it was clear that the insights arising out of policy discussions and practical site-visits were just the tip of the ice-berg, and ongoing cross-institutional and sectorial engagement will be needed to support Fiji’s achievement of its coastal marine management and sustainability visions. If you would like to stay up-to-date about FELA’s upcoming Update Forums, click here.


FELA strategic plan review meeting 2014

The FELA held a Workshop on Monday 7th July,2014 at the Holiday Inn as part of its strategic planning review process. FELA members as well as participants from various Government Agencies, NGOs, and community representatives attended this event.  Participants were asked to evaluate FELAs effectiveness as an organization and to provide comment on lessons learnt. The comments and input by participants will help to  guide FELA towards a Strategic Plan beyond 2014. With phase one of the planning process completed, FELA is confident that a new Strategic Plan should be ready by November this year. 


Marine Management law and policy forum 2018

fela eNVIRONMENT IMPACT ASSESSMENT LEGAL TRAINING SUVA & LAUTOKA



Throughout the two-day forum, participants engaged in both vigorous academic and policy discussion – based on FELA and the Environmental Defenders Office – New South Wales (EDONSW)’s recently published discussion and scoping papers – as well as a practical site-visit to a Marine Protected Area (MPA) at Serua Island organised by the Fiji Locally Marine Managed Association (FLMMA), provided a full-rounded perspective on the multi-disciplinary and synergetic forces shaping the development of marine management law and policy. 

The Update Forum was opened by a positive key-note from the Chief Guest, Fiji’s Director of Fisheries, Mr. Aisake Batibasaga who outlined the stewardship Fiji has been playing at the global level in combatting the effects of climate change and ensuring the sound and sustainable management of our shared oceans. Mr. Batibasaga highlighted the synergetic and active roles played by both public and private networks: from the University of the South Pacific’s institutional capacity commitments to conduct marine research and transfer technology research, to the active participation of conservation NGOs in the marine sector. 

A clear over-arching theme arose from the two days of policy and law discussions: ultimately, it all comes down to communities coming to a consensus on best-practice oceans and coastal marine management. While there is general consensus from all actors in the environmental management and conservation sector that collaborative sectoral efforts is needed to achieve Fiji’s marine coastal management visions, further efforts are required to ensure efficacious and thorough engagement with communities. Ensuring that conservation approaches are flexibly designed and open to adaptation based on local socio-cultural features, and developing policy and legislation such that it is conducive to grassroots local management efforts will be pivotal to the long-term sustainability of Fiji’s oceans and coastal marine management efforts. 

PRimary School waste management awareness program - Saint Marcellin


At the end of an official visit to Fiji, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, David R. Boyd, said the island nation was acutely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and associated natural disasters, through no fault of its own, and richer countries should rapidly ramp up financial assistance.


fela press release on the green growth framework in fiji

FELA’s Marine Management Law and Policy Discussion Forum was held from Thursday 25 February to Friday 26 February 2018 at the Holiday Inn, Suva, Fiji and included a site-visit to Serua Island, co-organised with FLMMA. It was the first of a FELA’s series of marine fisheries law and policy forum discussions for 2018, and focussed on FELA and EDONSW’s latest discussion and scoping papers. For more information on the papers, see here. ​