The National Government through Environment and Conservation Division (ECD) of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM), has been embarking on training workshops with stakeholders to ensure proper monitoring, compliance and enforcement of the three Environment Laws administered by the ECD.
The training workshops are aimed at improving monitoring, compliance and enforcement and as such a proactive approach is taken to train relevant environmental enforcement authorities at the community, provincial and national levels. This week the 4th of such training workshops was conducted in Honiara targeting mostly stakeholders from Guadalcanal province.
Speaking at the opening of the training workshop, Honorable Minister for the MECDM, Mr Stanley Festus Sofu (MP), told participants that the Solomon Islands environment is biodiverse, unique and valuable. Our forests, rivers and oceans provide essential ecosystem goods and services critical for our livelihoods and the economy of the country.
Honourable Sofu said with the country’s growing population, consumerism and weak environmental practices evident especially in the extractive industries, the country is now witnessing serious threats from issues such as plastic rubbish, illegal fishing, unregulated trade and harvesting of wild species, and even climate change to name a few.
He further stated that the unsustainable harvesting of our forest resources coupled with the poor environmental practices in the mining sector are of serious concern to the ministry and the country as a whole. The 2019 State of Environment Report clearly showed that environmental degradation is common on areas that are hosting or have hosted extractive economic activities.
Given the environmental issues the country is facing Minister Sofu said he is happy the participants have shown their willingness to be part of a training that will see the strengthening of the country’s environmental regulatory system.
“This training constitutes part of our ongoing effort to addressing some of these challenges. Your attendance and interest in accepting our invitation, shows your willingness to collectively share the responsibility in minimising various environmental crimes and enhancing compliance to environmental laws in the different sectors and levels you work with”
Minister Sofu urges the participants to use this training opportunity to establish working relationships and exchange ideas and experiences on best and practical solutions for addressing environmental enforcement and compliance in the country.
The two days training was very productive with presentations from ECD, DDP Office and the Police. There was also sharing of practical knowledge on report compilation and processes to assist ECD and DDP office to prosecute environmental crimes.
Community members who attended the training workshop acknowledged its importance saying the knowledge gained from the training will help them deal better with environmental issues that might arise within their communities in the future.
The training ended with presentation of certificate to participants.