Fight against the odds
DESPITE recent developments and achievements, the Department of Environment continues to lag behind in balancing, enforcing and monitoring the environmental trade-offs of the economy's accelerating pace.
Local Government and Environment Minister Colonel Samuela Saumatua made the statement at the National Faith Based Environment Stewardship program launch in Suva yesterday.
However, despite its problems Col. Saumatua said the department had not in any way been deterred from rising above its current challenges to enforce the government's mandate as stipulated under Pillar 5 of the People's Charter.
"The ministry through the Department of Environment had managed to produce some well-thought out and articulated national strategies for proper environment stewardship," he said.
"A cross-cutting challenge that has continued to affect the timely and effective successful implementation of these strategies is the lack of proper public and systematic community level awareness.
"All the while the government has been doing it alone without any real significant tangible impact or visible transformational changes in the consciousness and attitude of the general public."
Col. Saumatua said despite all those trying circumstances, the department had continued against the odds.
"The government's plea is a test of our faith to ensure that our own people are taken care of well into the future.
"We have all seen in Fiji and have experienced, in our respective personal levels the ravages of flash floods, riverbank erosion, accelerating coral bleaching and loss and drought.
"In all these natural hazards, the key to adaptation measures lies in the involvement of rural communities, as ecosystems and communities complement each other's resilience to such shocks."