The Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation (DEPC) is part of the Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology & Geo-Hazards, Environment, Energy and Disaster Management.
In 2016, the Public Service Commission approved an updated structure for DEPC. This new structure recognises the increased roles and responsibilities associated with environmental protection and conservation. Structuring DEPC into five divisions ensures that we have room to grow, enabling us to address environmental issues in the provinces and improve compliance with our legislation.
The Biodiversity and Conservation Division is responsible for implementing activities relating to biodiversity conservation through:
Terrestrial, marine and coastal conservation/protected areas
Biodiversity assessments and research
Invasive species management, control and eradication
The implementation of international and regional natural resource, ecosystem management/protection and biodiversity related conventions.
The Biodiversity and Conservation Division is responsible for implementing Part 4 of the Environmental Protection and Conservation Act [CAP 283]. This part provides for the formal registration of Community Conservation Areas and the process for obtaining a permit to undertake bioprospecting in Vanuatu.
The main function of the Environmental Planning and Impact Assessment Division is to manage Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in Vanuatu.
As part of implementing Part 3 of the Environmental Protection and Conservation Act [CAP 283] the Division’s responsibilities are to:
Facilitate EIA - from the application stage to the granting or refusal of Environmental Permits
Screen and review applications for Environmental Permits, undertaking Preliminary Environmental Assessments (PEAs) and visiting project sites
Develop Terms of Reference for EIA reports
Organise the review of EIA reports and Environmental Management and Monitoring Plans by an EIA Review Committee (the Committee)
Prepare Committee meeting minutes and reports of the Committee
Develop Environmental Permit conditions
Work with the Compliance Officer to monitor and enforce Environmental Permits and the Environmental Protection and Conservation Act [CAP 283].
By administering EIA, the Division seeks to promote better management and protection of the natural environment – effective planning, implementation and enforcement of the DEPC’s environmental frameworks will help to ensure clean, resilient and sustainable use of the natural resources for the citizens of Vanuatu.
The Provincial Outreach Division is the primary link between the Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation’s head office in Port Vila and the provinces. The work of this Division covers activities across all Divisions of DEPC and includes:
Raising awareness about DEPC, communicating and marketing the work of DEPC
Raising awareness about the role communities and sector stakeholders play in environmental management
Acting as a liaison or focal point for DEPC’s provincial activities
Providing support for provincial projects
Promoting extension services.
As the Division expands to include officers in more provinces it will also provide for the decentralisation of DEPC’s activities with Provincial Officers playing key roles in assessing applications for approvals from DEPC.
The Environmental Protection Division is responsible for implementing the Ozone Layer Protection Act, the Pollution Control Act, the Waste Management Act and the Vanuatu National Waste Management, Pollution Control Strategy and Implementation Plan 2016 – 2020. In doing so, the Division is focused on achieving an environmentally sustainable Vanuatu in which:
All types of wastes are collected, reused, recycled and treated by environmental sound technologies suited to local conditions
Waste going to landfill is minimised
Pollution to the receiving environment is within acceptable standards.
Like the Provincial Outreach Division, the Finance, Administration and Support Services Division supports the work of all the divisions of the Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation. The Finance, Administration and Support Services Division is responsible for:
Ensuring the environmental laws administered by DEPC are complied with
Providing administrative support for all DEPC activities
Managing and controlling DEPC’s re-current budget
Raising local purchase orders for DEPC and project activities
Providing financial and administrative assistance to projects housed within DEPC