I. NATIONAL INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS INTO POLICY DECISION-MAKING PROCESSES
D. Assessment of adequacy of institutional arrangements
Various government agencies are entrusted with the responsibility of administering and enforcing the environmentally-related Acts and legislation of Papua New Guinea. The Mining and Petroleum Acts are administered by the Department of Mining and Petroleum, while the role of protecting the environment and matters of conservation are the responsibility of the Department of Environment and Conservation. The Bureau of Water Resources is involved in the administration of the Water Resources Act and the Environmental Contaminants Act. The Dumping of Waste at Sea Act is administered by the Department of Environment and Conservation with resources and input from the National Fisheries Authority.
Environmental legislation in Papua New Guinea is regarded as being among the most comprehensive in the developing world, and it is certainly superior to that of its South Pacific neighbours (Carew-Reid, 1989). However, in practice, there has been considerable difficulty in ensuring effective implementation because of four major factors: manpower, financial and information constraints as well as a conflict of interest arising from the dual role of the government as part operator and monitoring authority. Currently, monitoring studies are done on an ad hoc basis by the developers with reports being submitted during quarterly meetings. The enforcement of development controls (e.g.., licences and permits) sometimes brings the State into competition with the landowners and developers. Sometimes the landowners collude with the developers, which undermines the ability of the State to enforce the regulations.
In chapter II it is contended that, among other things, penalties need to be increased to make them an effective deterrent. The reasons for poor enforcement include the fact that scarce administrative resources are often sunk into the maintenance of the regulatory system itself rather than into monitoring and enforcement activities. Although the Papua New Guinea judiciary has proven itself to be independently minded, so far there has not been a successful prosecution under EPA. That is mainly because the bureaucracy has little or no experience of prosecuting regulatory offences. In addition to inadequate monitoring, the problems of poor record keeping as well as a tolerance of some breaches of legislation and confusion over the seriousness of other breaches have contributed to a state of bureaucratic inertia. Current environmental legislation makes provision for individuals to seek compensation for adverse impacts of mining operations. However, there have been no previous cases of individuals or companies seeking redress in the local courts against the government and/or mining companies. The only action of that type was taken in an Australian court to gain maximum international coverage (box 2).