BY ALFRED PAGEPITU
There is lack of priority given to environmental management by stakeholders involved in natural resource extraction in the Solomon Islands.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment Dr Melchior Mataki highlighted this in a workshop last week.
Mataki said this is evident in the conduct and environmental performances of extractive industries in the country.
He said that when lack of priority is given to environment, there are some interaction between political and economic institutions and processes, the people with power and authority.
“Their motivations for policies and decisions including values and ideas that shape human relations and interaction.
“This means government authorities (national and provincial) and leaders, who actively support such undertakings.”
He said the pursuit of economic profit supersedes ‘environmental profit’ and this is directly supported by the prevailing political economy and amplified by the economic concept that assigns environmental outcomes of an economic activity as externalities.
“Whilst some landowners may lament over bad environmental practices by logging and mining companies, and the laxity and complicity of government authorities.”
“They are equally responsible as well in some circumstances because they invited and participated in the processes under each respective law prior to the beginning of logging or mining operations,” he added.
“Moreover, they are closer to the operations on daily basis than government authorities and they fail to remind companies when they skid logs through rivers, encroach into adjacent lands that are not in their concession areas, and not rehabilitate pockets of land that have been mined.”