Judiciary told of emerging environmental issues

The issue of deep-sea mining is among emerging environmental issues the Pacific is confronted with.

The point was made by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P) Environmental Planning Adviser, Jope Davetanivalu, at Taumeasina Island Resort last week.

He was speaking during a luncheon event for delegates to the Pacific Judicial Conference to raise awareness on emerging environmental threats within the Pacific island region. 

The event underlined the importance of adopting proper environmental management and planning processes supported by appropriate policy tools such as Environmental Impact Assessment (E.I.A.).

These planning processes and policies are there to ensure safeguards are in place and adopting the precautionary approach on environmental and social impacts from major developments such as mineral prospecting and sea bed mining.

Mr. Davetanivalu presented on S.P.R.E.P’s work on Environmental Impact Assessment and highlighted Deep Sea Mining as a new emerging development driver. 

“There is interest from mining companies and governments to explore the potential commercial benefits from seabed resources such as seafloor massive sulphides, manganese nodules, cobalt-rich crusts,” he said.

“There is also increasing demand from new technologies for metals and minerals. However, it is also important to note that the deep sea ocean floor is home to a diversity of marine life which is critical to the health of the ocean of which Pacific livelihoods depend on.”

Key messages conveyed through the S.P.R.E.P. presentation were well received by the Judges as it raised their level of awareness on some of the emerging environmental threats currently facing the Pacific. 

S.P.R.E.P. was acknowledged for its continued work in the area of environmental monitoring and governance particularly on capacity training and awareness-raising on Environment Impact Assessment as a tool for improved decision making. 

This was the first time S.P.R.E.P. had engaged formally with an audience of esteemed senior judges from around the Pacific island region and was also a great opportunity for S.P.R.E.P. to establish networks with Pacific island Judiciary Systems particularly in the area of environmental law enforcement. 

The event was made possible through financial support from the European Union A.C.P.M.E.A. Phase 2 capacity building project implemented through UN Environment and executed by S.P.R.E.P.

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