Kariki Aims to Tackle Environmental Issues

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HAILING from Western Province in the Solomon Islands, Steneth Kaniki will now join forces with aspiring environmental lawyers wishing to tackle environmental legal challenges, risks, and issues in the country.

Steneth is currently the Project Coordinator of the ‘Solomon Islands Environmental Law Association’ (SIELA) and has graduated with a Bachelor of Law (majoring in the environment) at the University of Waikato, New Zealand.

He is the youngest sibling (little brother) of the other two older male siblings (older brothers), one who is a Medical Doctor and the other is a Marine Biologist.

From his upbringing in the formal education of the country, Steneth ambition was to be an environmental lawyer based on the influential fact that Solomon Islands’ environment is one of the healthiest and richest in the Pacific.

“My mother was a primary school teacher and dad is a farmer and I attained my high school education in Vonunu Provincial Secondary School and Goldie College (both in Western Province) and completed my two high school years in Selwyn College in 2013 and 2014.

“I later went straight to do his tertiary level of education at the University of Waikato, New Zealand to study the Bachelor of Law from 2015 to 2018,” she said.

Over the past decades, Kaniki was heavily influenced by the conservation works undertaken by a community-based Non-Government Organization in his home province called ‘Sirubai Voko Tribe Association.’

He was also aware of the obvious fact that to have a career opportunity in environmental law one has to uphold the regulations and advocate for new policies related to clean water, clean air, global warming, land use, and other environmental themes.

“My passion aims to help address the major environmental problems Solomon Islands face, which is to strive for a clean, healthy and rich environment where humans can enjoy their habitat and live better lives.”

Kaniki expressed that Solomon Islands’ environment and its habitats are one of the healthiest and richest in the Pacific.

“However, our legal system (environmental laws) needs to be strengthened to protect our environment from emerging development activities,” Kaniki added.

“I think the Government of Solomon Islands is not doing enough to protect the environment; the development activities to sustain the economy of the country are overriding the efforts government is undertaking to protect the environment and its habitats,” he expressed.

Kaniki further added that the country needs more environmental lawyers.

“Almost 85% of the country’s population is in rural areas.

“We need more lawyers to go out in the provinces to advocate for environmental laws of the country,” he said.

The inspiring environmental lawyer joined the ‘Solomon Islands Environmental Law Association’ (SIELA) which was founded by Seno Mauli with the purpose to advocate for environmental laws of the country across the Solomon Islands and to ensure citizens of the country are being aware of the environmental laws and their environmental rights.

“My dream is to ensure that the people of Solomon Islands will have a better understanding of the environmental laws of the country and their environmental rights,” he said.

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Lynda Wate
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