Focus on environment management

Volunteer Michelle Crow of Projects Abroad planting Mangroves at Serua Village foreshore earlier this year. Picture: RAMA/FILE

FIJI’S Environment and Waterways Ministry held its third business round table discussion yesterday aimed at protecting natural resources, following the law and secondly including raising awareness on processes and requirements.

The discussions were opened by the Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Local Government, Housing and Environment Joshua Wycliffe with a specific focus on the Environment Management Act 2005.

“As of 2014, our natural resources – especially eco system resources- were valued to the tune of $2.5 billion,” he highlighted in a media statement from Government.

“This round table is about how we can protect our natural resources, follow the law and secondly, raising awareness on processes and requirements.”

The discussion covered processes for environment impact assessments (EIAs), permits for waste disposal and recycling, the Ozone Depleting Substances Act 1998 and Endangered and Protected Species Act 2002 and their requirements, with PS Wycliffe noting the importance of improving services.

“There have been many complaints from time to time raised on delays so we wanted the industry to have a look behind-the-scene  into the work processes, what paperwork is required and most importantly, to get an input and insight into the industries of what they need, what their requirements and what their issues are so we can develop and improve our standard of operating procedures of the time we take- to improve on those, be of quicker service and more efficient.

“The purpose is to be able to develop, design and deliver a service delivery that is efficient, tangible, fast and reliable.”

According to the statement, business stakeholders used the opportunity to clarify aspects such as required fees for permits, waste disposal, inspections and national budgetary allocations among other issues.

Questions on ozone-depleting substances from the air-conditioning and refrigeration industry and gas developments were also raised.

The Ministry of Environment and Waterways earlier held similar sessions in Suva and Savusavu.

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