The partnership by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) to accelerate the implementation and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Samoa Pathway, has been strengthened with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). 

SPREP and ESCAP are mandated to promote inclusive and sustainable development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and through the MOU, the organisations reaffirm their partnership with the focus on producing and disseminating analytical work, implementing capacity building initiatives, organising conferences and policy dialogues at regional, sub-regional and national levels. 

It will also focus on sharing knowledge, data and information, lessons learned, best practice and monitoring and evaluation of development in the Pacific, as well as exploring potential co-financing for regional, sub-regional and country programmes and projects where feasible and appropriate. 

The MOU signing took place virtually between Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Ms Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana in Bangkok, and Director General of SPREP, Mr Kosi Latu, in Apia. 

 “ESCAP and SPREP have a long history of productive collaboration on knowledge and capacity building in the Pacific region, especially to work with SIDS and least developed countries,” Ms Alisjahbana said.

“By working together on these areas of focus, we will continue to maximise our comparative strengths and advantages that complement each other’s strategic work, especially in the areas of climate change, environmental governance, sustainable energy and transport, sustainable oceans, and data and statistics.”

Director General Latu said the MOU signals an important milestone in collaboration between the two organisations, and believed that the MOU will go further in strengthening and reaffirm their partnership in the long run. 

“It’s taken time for us to get to this point. A lot of work has gone into it by both ESCAP and SPREP officials. I would like to acknowledged the work of Mr Iosefa Maiava, Head of the ESCAP Sub-Regional office for the Pacific, for staying the course and enabling us to get to this point where we can realise our aspirations,” said Mr Latu.  

Mr Latu believes the MOU will reinforce the joint efforts and collaborations in the key priority areas, which are important areas for both Asia and the Pacific, and despite the challenges of COVID-19, both organisations can maximise these opportunities and complement each other’s strengths. 

“Being a UN agency, ESCAP brings a lot of leverage in terms of sustainable development, in particular our focus on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and for us in the Pacific, the SAMOA Pathway and Regional Roadmap for Sustainable Development.”

Mr Latu assured that SPREP is committed to working with ESCAP to assist its Member countries in the Pacific region and look forward to the work ahead.