12 September, 2013
24th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme
Environmental leaders and officials from around the Pacific will gather in Apia, Samoa next week for the 24th meeting of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
The SPREP meeting is an opportunity for members and partners to celebrate their achievements over the previous year and agree on next steps in realising their vision for a "Pacific environment - sustaining our livelihoods and natural heritage in harmony with our cultures".
"SPREP has grown over the past years and we have increased our budget significantly, reflecting our growing support for Pacific countries and territories," said Mr David Sheppard, the Director-General of SPREP.
"This is also an indication of the greater priority our member governments are placing on climate change and environmental management. We are proud to be in a position to continue to service the growing needs of our members."
The Apia meeting is timely following the Majuro Declaration of the Pacific Island Forum Leaders meeting, which notes that climate change is the greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of the peoples of the Pacific and is one of the greatest challenges for the entire world.
As the lead regional organisation on climate change, SPREP has led a Pacific regional renewable energy project that aims at reducing carbon emissions in the region by at least 30% by 2015. This project is now extended to include three more Pacific island countries.
The Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) project, now in its final 18 months, has seen tangible benefits on the ground for Pacific island countries as they plan and prepare for the impacts of climate change. Activities include a community reservoir in Tuvalu, climate resilient roads in Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia, and salt water resistant crops and hybrid solar driers to address food security issue in Ontong Java, Solomon Islands.
"We are also working on promoting natural solutions to climate change adaptation, helping member countries strengthen their ecosystems in an effort to ensure a healthy Pacific environment to build resilience to the climate change impacts that may come," said the Director-General.
These and other success stories will be shared and discussed at the three-day meeting.
The Director-General added that SPREP looked forward to a strengthened relationship with members and development partners in the years ahead.
The 26 members of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) comprise 21 Pacific island countries and territories and include metropolitan members Australia, France, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States of America.
The work of SPREP is coordinated through its SPREP Strategic Plan (2011-2015) and encompasses four key pillars – Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management, Climate Change, Environmental Monitoring and Governance, and Waste Management and Pollution Control. The SPREP secretariat is based in Apia, Samoa.