The 2013 Fiji National State of Environment Report is the first state of Environment Report for Fiji in over 20 years. It represents two years of consultation between my Ministry and other national agencies including ministries, Statutory Authorities, Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), Universities, Community Support Organizations (CSO), outer islands and regional organizations like the Secretariat of the Pacific Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Secretariat for the Pacific Community (SPC). As the report outlines, Fiji is undergoing substantial changes. Some of these changes are impacting the natural environment that we have relied on for centuries for food, shelter, well-being, a rich cultural heritage and a national sense of what it means to be Fijian. Let us remember that as we continue to develop as a nation, build our economy, our infrastructure and social services, the very things we rely on to grow: food, clean water and air, marine resources, forests and rich soils are intricately tied to the health of our society and economy. Quite simply, if we ignore the environment, we risk our own development as a strong and independent nation.

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