I. NATIONAL INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS INTO POLICY DECISION-MAKING PROCESSES
C. Institutional framework
In 1976, the Office of Environment and Conservation (OEC) was created as part of the Department of Lands, Surveys and Environment. Administrative functions were shared among all the components of the Department. However, OEC was headed by a minister who was responsible for developing and implementing OEC policies. In 1985, OEC became the Department of Environment and Conservation. In 1977, a "Statement of environment and conservation principles" was accepted by Parliament. Significant aspects of the statement included: (a) the need for ecological, socially and culturally suitable forms of development and their contribution to project planning; (b) sustainability; (c) environmental responsibilities; (d) environmental education and awareness; (e) the role of the "polluter pays principle"; and (f) the international role and responsibilities of Papua New Guinea (Ministry of Environment, 1977).
The protection of the environment and matters pertaining to conservation are the responsibility of the Department of Environment and Conservation. The environmental policies and guidelines followed by the Department of Environment and Conservation emphasize the commitment of the government to maintain and improve the quality of the environment (Department of Environment and Conservation, 1991). The secessionist rebellion in Bougainville prompted a renewed interest in the social and environmental impacts of the mining industry. Government budget documents in 1991 and 1992 devoted some attention to environmental policy in general, and in particular to non-renewable resource projects and social impact assessment (SIA), including social impact monitoring. In both years, the budget documents set out three general objectives under the heading of "Social impact assessment and development planning" (Department of Finance and Planning, 1990). The objectives were:
In recent years the external aid agencies and various NGOs have provided assistance to Papua New Guinea in the areas of environmental monitoring, strategic planning for the Department of Environment and Conservation, and the mapping of diversity in Papua New Guinea biodiversity. The outcome of that assistance has been the development of three strategic directions (Department of Environment and Conservation, 1995) for the development of environmental management in Papua New Guinea. The objectives of the strategies are:
Recently, the Department of Environment and Conservation adopted a total catchment environmental management framework for its operations. The total catchment environment management framework utilizes river catchments as a natural planning framework in view of their importance to development projects and the mainly subsistence-based rural communities. The approach encourages cooperation among the various levels of the government, the local communities, the private sector and NGOs. The objective of the Department of Environment and Conservation is to have the framework in operation nationwide by the year 2005.
A recent development in environmental management and conservation in Papua New Guinea is the adoption of discrete integrated conservation and development (ICAD) projects in high biodiversity areas. As indicated above, communities have strong incentives to exploit their natural environments in order to make money. The idea of ICAD is to provide income-generating opportunities to landowners in return for specific conservation commitments. Private sector participation in ICAD projects is being encouraged. For example, the Kutubu joint venture, which is exploiting the petroleum resources of Papua New Guinea, has agreed to sponsor an ICAD project in the Lake Kutubu-Kikori area.
When the government established the NPO it announced that it would operate separately from the Department of Finance and Planning. The NPO goals include:
A specific role for integrating environmental concerns into the decision-making process was not given in the NPO mission statement. However, a crucial role has been assigned to NPO in the pursuit of the Economic Reform Programme (ERP). A key objective of ERP is "the management of the nation's bounteous natural resources, especially petroleum, gas, gold, copper and timber, in ways which will provide optimal returns on a broadly spread basis to all Papua New Guineans" (Department of Finance and Planning, 1995). It is envisaged that NPO will also play a leading role in long-term planning for the non-renewable sector.