VIII. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
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G. Training and information
It is readily accepted that there is a dearth of skilled and technically qualified people in the environmental disciplines and that the provisions for training to correct the shortage are inadequate.
In addition, institutional capacity-building is an urgent need that has to be addressed if there is to be effective progress on environmental issues. Closely allied to the shortage of expertise is a marked lack of information, both scientific and general.
The rapid growth of the population and the consequent unplanned and haphazard pattern of settlement in and around Nuku'alofa has already led to environmental problems of considerable proportions. Unfortunately, as yet, there is little understanding of the links between population growth and the environment.
It is recommended that:
- Systematic identification be urgently carried out of the training needs and available training opportunities for all the institutions involved in environmental management;
- Resources be devoted to drawing up an appropriate training programme covering the next 10 years and estimating the costs of such training, while also identifying potential sources of funding sources;
- A framework is established for ensuring that information is collected and analysed, and research undertaken which is related to the links between population and the environment;
- A comprehensive database on the environment is developed;
- Serious consideration be given to a long-term research programme that concentrates on the problems most likely to confront Tonga in the near future with respect to rapid urbanization, water resources and near-shore marine resources.