New environmental law book for the Solomons
The public solicitors office in Solomon Islands has released a new environmental law book aimed at educating and informing stakeholders in the country.
The public solicitors office in Solomon Islands has released a new environmental law book aimed at educating and informing people in the country.
The book contains national and provincial laws and a compilation of court cases relating to logging, mining, and land disputes.
Its co-author Jennifer Radford told Koroi Hawkins that it is important for Solomon Islanders to be aware of their environmental laws as many communities are rich in natural resources but are often exploited by large companies.
JENNIFER RADFORD: The book has a great overview in the first chapter of environment and land law here. Then it goes into some detail on the three really key resource areas which are logging mining and fisheries. And in that it talks about the rights of land owners and the standards that companies have to adhere to. It has also got chapters on pollution control, development consent which is environmental impact assessments. And then a really important chapter on protected areas, which is a new form of law here where it is possible to protect areas nationally and have that protection upheld by the Ministry of environment. To stop logging on land that has got customary or biological importance.
KOROI HAWKINS: What do you want this book to achieve what is it that you are hoping this book does in the country?
JR: The book is really important in a way because so much of Solomon Islands economy hinges on the use of land and the use of the resources on land. And there is a strong sense among people from a ministry level down to a community level that something isn't quite working in all of these laws. A lot of them aren't being followed a lot of them aren't being enforced. There is a lot of destructive logging, there is mining that contravenes almost every step of the lands and mines process. But there is a strong sense that people aren't quite sure what the right laws are or how to enforce them. And there are a lot of calls for change and reform. What we would really love to see from the Public Solicitors office is a really informed debate on these issues and a chance for people to really understand what the current laws are what the current gaps are and what the enforcement options are that people already have and what powers do police have to enforce these laws. And one of the key targets for this book isn't really so much not entirely at the community level but also the ministries where a lot of people do not have legal backgrounds and yet are enforcing some of the most important laws in the country. We hope that this book becomes a resource that isn't just for lawyers but is a way to really highlight the importance and the capacity that already exists in our current laws to really improve these industries and the use of these resources and ultimately the economy of the country and people's well being at a community level.
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