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