The Department of Environment has processed over one billion dollars worth of sustainable investments in Fiji during the last financial year.
However, the Director of Environment, Sandeep Kaur has raised disappointment during an Environment Impact Assessment roundtable in Nadi that many businesses are still not complying with the approval conditions.
“The Department is a strong advocate of sustainable development and we have talked about it and applies the precautionary principle in ensuring that Fiji’s natural resources are sustainably developed and utilized. It is the Department’s intention that through our EIA process, all new infrastructure assets are well planned, designed, built and operated to account for the climate change impacts.”
Kaur also highlighted the department received 528 environment impact assessment screening applications compared to 220 for the last financial year, an increase of 308 applications.
According to the Director of Environment, while the number of EIA screening applications have increased, the budgetary allocation for compliance and enforcement is not sufficient.
She says that moving forward, the Department as permitted under the law will be reimbursing cost from developers.
These include transport, out-of-hours pay for inspectors and other staff, employment of a consultant to review EIA reports, convening of a review committee and analyzing samples, for convening scoping meeting.