III. EXISTING INSTITUTIONS AND MEASURES FOR INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS INTO DEVELOPMENT PLANNING AND DECISION-MAKING FOR SUVA CITY
E. National government agencies that have an impact on the Suva environment
7. Ad hoc environmental coordinating committeesSeveral ad hoc committees concerned with important environmental issues of interest to Suva have been formed over the past decade, including:
Under the draft Sustainable Development Bill, the ad hoc committees described above will come under the aegis of NCSD. In turn, NCSD will provide the opportunity to coordinate and integrate the operations and human resources of the smaller existing committees that are attempting to address the sustainable use of resources in particular sectors within a comprehensive institutional framework for reporting to the minister. The Bill also provides for the consolidation, where appropriate, of existing committees and the establishment, where necessary, of additional committees (such as the National Waste Management Committee).
The South Pacific Action Committee on Human Ecology and the Environment (SPACHEE) is based in Suva at the University of the South Pacific. The organisation, which provides a central focal point for expert knowledge on environmental issues, has worked to raise government and popular awareness of environmental issues. Nevertheless, it is sometimes regarded as limiting its audience to like-minded academics and is thought to lack grass-roots membership. It is nonetheless the only active organization and has a very wide resource base of expertise. Because it is based in Suva SPACHEE has given a great deal of attention to urban environmental problems.
The Fiji Council of Social Services is a community-oriented umbrella organization of NGOs concerned with social welfare issues. The Council is concerned with urban environment issues, given the interrelationship between poverty and urban environmental problems. It has initiated environmental programmes that are educational and participatory at the local community level.
A number of international and regional NGOs have located their regional offices in Suva, including the World Wide Fund for Nature, Green Peace and Pacific Resource Centre. The presence of such NGOs has contributed to the environmental consciousness of the community.
The National Trust for Fiji was set up in 1970, and although it is a
statutory body it possesses attributes that are associated with NGOs. According
to the National
State of the Environment Report, the National Trust seems to be well placed
as an effective catalyst for environmental awareness in environmental,
physical, cultural and heritage conservation. Unfortunately, the National
Trust has consistently failed to attract significant government support.
As a result, other agencies and departments have moved into the areas
of environmental protection and national and heritage conservation which
were formerly the exclusive domain of the National Trust.