4 September 2020, Apia, Samoa – The second Executive Board meeting of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the first meeting of SPREP’s governing body to be convened virtually, officially concluded this afternoon after three days of deliberations. 

Chair of the SPREP Meeting, Dr Melchior Mataki of Solomon Islands, declared the meeting closed, and announced the days for the 30th Meeting of SPREP Officials, which will be tentatively held from 6 – 10 September 2021.  

This second EB meeting has had to be held virtually due to border closures brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen most of the Secretariat’s work having had to be either cancelled or postponed, as revealed during the meeting. 

SPREP Director General, Mr Kosi Latu, said. “The impacts of COVID-19 on the work of the Secretariat has been stressed countless times in the past three days. We have had to find new ways of working to adapt to these uncertain times, and as a result, most of our work, such as trainings and workshops, have had to be conducted or convened virtually, as border closures have meant that our staff are not able to travel to our Member countries to carry out activities that were planned for this year.” 

The Director General also thanked the Executive Board for their guidance, and assured that the Secretariat will take them on board in order to further improve the Secretariat’s ability to serve its Member countries in realizing a resilient Pacific environment which sustains our livelihoods and natural heritage in harmony with our cultures. 

Looking back to the first this is a massive improvement we have had more engagement from board members which tells a story of the interest of our Members in our work. 

Mr Llewellyn Roberts, representative of New Zealand and SPREP’s Metropolitan Members, commended the Chair for his superb conducting of the meeting, as well as the Executive Board members and Secretariat for three days of productive dialogue and discussions.

“Chair you have done a fantastic job, as well as everyone at the Secretariat. I also thank my fellow members of the Board – it’s been a good three days meeting with you all virtually,” Mr Roberts said.

Highlights of the three-day meeting included the endorsement of the 2019 Annual Report, which outlined the Secretariat’s achievements for the year 2019, as well as the endorsement of the 2020 work programme and budget. 

Participants of the meeting included representatives of Guam and Kiribati in the north and New Zealand in the south, French Polynesia in the east and New Caledonia in the west, as well as the Troika, which is comprised of the past, present and future chairpersons of the SPREP Meeting. 

The second Executive Board meeting is being held virtually from 2 – 4 September 2020. 

The Meeting brings together the eight members of SPREP’s Executive Board. This includes Troika of past, present and future chairpersons of the SPREP Meeting, and representatives of Melanesia, Metropolitan, Micronesia, and Polynesia. 

The 21 Pacific island countries and territories of SPREP are: American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna. 

The five metropolitan Members of SPREP are: Australia, France, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States of America. 

For more information, please contact Ms Audrey Brown-Pereira at [email protected]