The use of the Environment Impact Assessment tool must ensure that it does not forsake environmental impact in the process of any development.

This was highlighted to stakeholders from Fiji’s environmental sector when they met to review the EIA guidelines.

The Ministry of Local Government and Environment’s acting permanent secretary, Mr Saverio Baleikanacea said the EIA is a decision-making tool that effectively considers both the benefit of a development and its impact to the receiving environment over the years.

He said this world renowned tool is now being used by all stakeholders such as the private and public sector as well as the community at large.

“It (EIA) allows an opportunity to put in place proper mitigative measures prior to undertaking any development that may make major alterations to the natural status of our environment,” Mr Baleikanacea said.

However, he pointed out that for this assessment to be an effective tool in development planning, it needs to continuously “keep up to par with the modern trend of development”.

Mr Baleikanacea said the workshop provides a good start to this process as it sets the medium for information sharing, lesson learnt and understanding the roles and responsibilities of approving authorities.

The assessment is a preventative measure that seeks to avoid costly mistakes in project planning and development.

The workshop featured speakers from the Department of Lands, Mineral Resources Department, i-Taukei Land Trust Board and the Department of  Town and Country Planning.