II. INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS
B. Coordinating, administrative and policy-making organizations
The Central Planning Office (CPO) comes under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. In the past, the main CPO function was the preparation of the five-year development plans. However, since 1989, Fiji has moved to strategic planning. Short- to medium-term strategy statements, and medium-term capital expenditure programmes have replaced the former five-year development plans. CPO is responsible for preparing the strategy documents, and it serves as the secretariat for a number of key policy-making committees including the Economic Strategy Committee which is chaired by the Prime Minister. Policy papers are prepared for the committees by CPO. However, the main CPO function continues to be the vetting of annual budget proposals of government ministries and departments. In 1994 it prepared budget proposals for 31 different ministries, departments and agencies.
In the existing institutional framework CPO provides (or should provide) the coordinating link on environmental issues and policy. Moreover, it is also represented on the Environmental Management Committee. However, that Committee does not appear to have a strong influence on the economic planning process. In addition, CPO does not have the skills needed for environmental assessment and planning, nor does it have an environmental economist. CPO has passed those responsibilities on to the Department of the Environment; but because of the current government institutional structure, they have become marginalized. A further difficulty faced by CPO is that it has the opportunity to assess proposed projects only at a late stage in the planning process. Project assessment and design are undertaken largely by the line ministries carrying responsibilities for projects within their own mandates.