III. EXISTING INSTITUTIONS AND MEASURES FOR INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS INTO DEVELOPMENT PLANNING AND DECISION-MAKING FOR SUVA CITY
H. Economic incentives and the urban environment
Insufficient attention has been given to the economic aspects of environmental management. Many believe that the two do not mix. However, experience has shown that major improvements in the state of the environment can be made at the policy level by various government agencies, through the use of economic incentives and disincentives.
One of the most accepted policy prescriptions is the "polluter pays" principle which ensures that polluters pay the costs they impose on other people. In general, the principle is not applied in Fiji. For example, a large financial expenditure would be required to clean up the pollution of Suva harbour. If such a clean-up was to proceed it would have to be funded by tax payers. Under the 'polluter pays' concept the principal agent for pollution would bear the financial costs of the clean up. Currently, fishermen, fish consumers and users of the harbour waters for recreational purposes have to bear the costs of industrial pollution.
In the course of drafting the Sustainable Development Bill it became evident that most people consulted by the Department of the Environment were in favour of economic incentives for a self-regulation system of environment. The system offers a choice for industries to either self-regulate or to be regulated by government. The ones that choose to self-regulate will receive some kind of incentive and will be allowed to develop their own industrial Code of Practice. All Codes of Environmental Practice will have to comply with the International Organization for Standardization ISO-14000 series. The industrial Code of Practice and an implementation plan will also need to be approved by the government. Industries will be required to submit regular (annual) audit reports, produced by an external accredited environmental auditor, to the appropriate regulatory agencies as proof of compliance. Increasing numbers of manufacturing and processing businesses in Fiji are undergoing ISO certification in terms of quality assurance, which they use extensively in their product promotions. Similar marketing advantages can be obtained from ISO environmental certification, particularly in the case of companies in Fiji that export to countries where there is greater environmental public awareness.