VII. INFORMATION AND TRAINING NEEDS
A. Importance of environmental information
If environmental considerations are to be integrated into the macroeconomic and mainstream decision-making process, the availability of good information is essential. Economic decisions are often, if not always, based on monetary values. Hence, one of the conditions for merging the environment in mainstream decision-making is establishing the capability to value the environment in monetary terms. Such an approach has been pursued by the United Nations. A revised System of National Accounts designed by the United Nations offers an opportunity to adopt a framework for national data collection that includes both environmental and socio-economic data in an integrated fashion. However, before such integrated accounting is possible, it will be necessary to collect environment statistics that can be readily linked to socio-economic indicators for creating an integrated database.
Environmental information currently available in Fiji is not sufficient to enable planners to appreciate the extent and likely consequences of certain resource uses. Hence they are unlikely to develop and implement appropriate action plans to modify the nature of those activities that put the sustainability of resource use at risk.
Another very important reason for having an environmental information system is for monitoring compliance. As discussed in chapter VI, monitoring is based on the collection of samples on a regular and systematic way so that any changes in the state of the environment can be quickly detected.
Claasen (1991) identifies two types of information required for managing programmes for sustainable resource use:
Both types of information must be available if the valuation of the environment is to be possible for macroeconomic decision-making.