VIII. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
A. Environmental considerations in government policy and economic decision-making
The government readily accepts the crucial importance of the environment and the need to take that into account in economic policy formulation and the decision-making process. However, the overriding priority of the government is to achieve a higher and faster rate of economic growth, followed by the provision of adequate health and education services. Consequently, the environment is accorded a relatively low priority.
Unfortunately, it is falsely believed that economic growth and ecologically sustainable development are mutually exclusive. On the contrary, given the limited land area and water resources of Tonga, assured and lasting economic growth cannot be attained without integrating environmental considerations into the national economic policy and decision-making processes. In choosing policy paths that are lasting and sustainable, the government needs to ensure that the ecological dimensions of policy be integrated with economic, trade, energy, agricultural, marine, industrial, and other dimensions. That is one of the major institutional and policy challenges facing the government as the country moves towards the new millennium.
To ensure that environmental considerations are taken into account in government policy formulation and economic decision-making, it is recommended that: