II. NATIONAL INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS INTO THE POLICY DECISION PROCESS
B. The evolution and existing structure of institutional arrangements for the tea sector in the various ministries and agencies
The Department of National Planning of the Ministry of Finance and Planning is responsible for appraising all development project proposals made by public sector institutions prior to submission to the Cabinet for approval. The main objective of the appraisal exercise is to determine the compatibility of the projects with the development policies of the relevant line ministry as well as for consistency with national development policies. Approved projects are incorporated into the national Public Investment Programme which is a five-year rolling programme. The programme, which is published by the Ministry of Finance and Planning, contains comprehensive information pertaining to sectoral policies, the annual investment programme of each sector and a performance review of the previous year.
Prior to the evolution of the present streamlined institutional arrangement, the National Planning Department functioned as the Secretariat to a Committee of Development Secretaries. That committee, which comprised ministerial secretaries, examined the development projects prior to their submission to the Cabinet for approval. At that time, the environmental issues of development projects were not given special consideration.
However, at present an Environmental Group, comprising broad sectoral representation and which functions within the Department of National Planning, is entrusted with the responsibility for examining the environmental implications of development projects and programmes as well as their compatibility with the policy objectives.
The format for the submission of project proposals for preliminary screening by the Department of National Planning contains an environmental checklist. Information related to the checklist enables the Department of National Planning to make a preliminary assessment of the environmental impact of each proposed project. If the impact is considered to be adverse, the Department of National Planning refers the project proposal back to the submitting State agency or the line ministry concerned, (Ministry of Plantation Industries for the tea sector) for a more detailed assessment of the environmental impacts and for incorporation of the necessary mitigatory measures.