Climate change laws need good parliamentary monitoring, oversight

Climate change is the main threat to the sustainability of Fiji’s tourism sector as tourism relies heavily on the country’s beautiful natural environment.

Honourable Speaker, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau made the comment during day two of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Assocation’s (CPA) Small Branches Sustainable Economic Development workshop in Malta. The three-day workshop which ended on Friday 31 January 2012 aimed to equip parliamentarians with the essential knowledge needed to effectively enact and support policies administered by their respective parliaments in the area of sustainable economic development.

At the workshop, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau encouraged parliaments to not only pass good legislation addressing climate change and sustainable development, but to also ensure that there was robust parliamentary monitoring and oversight of their implementation. He emphasized that these laws can also be effective if there are regular reviews and amendments to address new challenges and changing circumstances particularly in important sectors like tourism in small island countries.

His Excellency also shared the Fiji Parliament’s progress on mainstreaming the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in parliamentary processes, in particular the publication in 2019 of a guidance note to assist Standing Committees undertake effective oversight of SDGs implementation.

As part of the workshop the participants were given a tour of Malta’s national water system that is managed by the Maltese Water Services Corporation. Malta is a good example of a small island country with limited or virtually no viable natural resources but has adapted well to sustain a thriving population. Malta does not have any rivers or above-ground water sources (apart from rainwater) and relies on a system that employs reverse osmosis, desalination and recycling and purification of wastewater. CPA island country members were able to see firsthand how the system works and how it can be implemented in small island developing states where safe water sources are lacking.

His Excellency was invited by the CPA as Guest Speaker/Observe and his participation was made possible through the generous support of the inter-parliamentary organization.