Fiji Environment Law Association (FELA) in collaboration with the Department of Environment conducted a series of legal training at the Holiday Inn Suva, October 27 -29, 2014. With the support of the US Embassy, Suva the Seminar was opened by US Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Mr. Douglas Sonnek. The training program entitled “Environment Impact Assessments (EIA): Improving Public Participation and decision making for Coastal Development in the Provinces. The training takes a close aspect at the Environment Management Act (2005) and the solicitation of the EIA process to coastal developments in Fiji. The training was attended by 60 participants within the Government agencies and Statutory Bodies, Regional representatives from Climate Change and Environment Departments and Non Government Organization and Legal Departments from Private Sectors.
According to FELA Legal Officer, Ms Melaia Baba, the major component of FELA’s strategic plan was to address the increasing threats of Fiji’s coastal and marine resources. She also stated that the legal training programme would promote legal awareness of environmental laws, promote effective implementation and strengthen public participation in environmental decision making. FELA goal is to promote and implement sustainable resources management and enhance the protection of Fiji’s environment through a legislative framework which encompasses Fiji’s development needs such as institutional, financial and human resources. FELA also empowers active public participation in environmental decision -making by empowering relevant community groups to understand their rights under relevant environment, resource laws and building capacity of relevant government agencies to enable effective implementation. FELA will conduct its second legal training series in Lautoka on the 17-19th of October, 2014. The Mamanuca Environment Society (MES) team hopes to build capacity in strengthening their commitment in the protection of coastal areas that will promote healthier marine biodiversity particularly the preservation of turtle nesting sites.