Environment ministry to engage with resource owners

The Ministry of Environment - through various policies and international conventions – will implement programs to ensure the protection and management of Fiji’s important ecosystem and species. Picture: FT FILE

IN the coming weeks and months, the Department of Environment will engage a lot more with resource owners and communities through the National Environment Council (NEC) – a legislated body under the Environment Management Act 2005.

Minister for Environment and Waterways Dr Mahendra Reddy said the ministry recognised the healthy ecosystem provided for healthy people in a healthy nation.

He said for that reason, the ministry – through various policies and international conventions – would implement programs to ensure the protection and management of Fiji’s important ecosystem and species.

“In recognising that Fiji’s unique biodiversity underpins economic and social prosperity of our small island nation, our ministry aims to protect species from extinction by regulating trade in wildlife species from national global significance, making sure that species are substantially and legally required from the wild, and traders are registered to be trained in the species so that we have complete data on what is traded, what is the volume of trade, what is the existing stock on the ground,” Mr Reddy told Parliament last week.

He said the Endangered and Protected Species Act 2002 aimed to regulate and control the international trade, domestic trade, possession and transportation of species protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, more commonly known as CITES.

“… In the last fiscal year, our ministry has issued 161 export permits, 32 import permits, refused to and registered 17 companies under the Endangered and Protected Species Act 2002.

“… The Department of Environment continues to raise public awareness on the importance of Fiji’s biodiversity and has taken rigorous approach in consulting with our stakeholders on key requirements under the various environmental laws.”

Mr Reddy said numerous workshops and roundtable consultations, enforcement trainings and media campaigns had been conducted to improve public understanding of Fiji’s environment and biodiversity and how individuals could co-operate in addressing challenges.”

He added the ministry had already worked towards establishing a protected area, the registration system to enhance management and reporting of Fiji’s national commitments and obligations under the Convention on biological diversity.

“Our ministry is keen to work with all partners in this new fiscal year, and is looking forward to genuine, sustainable and transparent working partnership. Our Ministry will encourage one and all to be proud of our rich environment heritage that defines us; our beautiful country we live in, and let us keep Fiji beautiful.”

The department has, over the last year, designed and rolled out a unique customer outreach programme called Business Roundtable – a proactive approach that seeks to partner with the private sector to achieve faster and more sustainable development outreach.

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