The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.) has paid tribute to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi’s leadership, as Samoa prepares to host the first Pacific Climate Change Centre at Vailima.
Director General Leota Kosi Latu acknowledged Tuilaepa’s visionary leadership during the ground breaking ceremony of the Pacific Climate Change Centre yesterday. The occasion also marked 25 years of S.P.R.E.P’s move to Samoa.
“I would like to acknowledge at this significant time the hugely important role that P.M. Tuilaepa has personally played firstly in the establishment of S.P.R.E.P. itself here in Samoa, and the provision of a place for S.P.R.E.P. to proudly stand in the Pacific among its Members,” he said.
“Secondly, as the region’s foremost champion for the need of a Pacific Climate Change Centre, and thirdly as the principal host of the Centre, here in Samoa on the S.P.R.E.P. campus. Without your personal commitment and energy Prime Minister, we would not be standing here today.”
Prime Minister Tuilaepa was among guests at yesterday’s ground breaking and celebration. The ceremony marked the start of construction of the US$8 million (T$19.2m) P.C.C.C. funded by Japan through grant aid.
The construction will be undertaken by the Japanese company, Konoike Company Ltd. It is expected to take 13 and a half months to complete with the handover expected to be in July 2019.
“We are on the cusp of a new era for our Pacific region with our new S.P.R.E.P. strategic plan now in action, and this Pacific Climate Change Centre – a centre of excellence that belongs to our Pacific people, – will be a catalyst for Pacific climate change action,” said Leota.
“The Centre will play a key role in our journey ahead which will be one towards progress, resilience and environmental sustainability in our Blue Pacific.”
Leota made it clear the P.C.C.C. will not be a new institution.
“It will serve as a conduit for climate change resilience work in the region to directly benefit Pacific Island countries and territories,” he said.
He added that it would be a shared regional resource:
• A shared regional asset belonging to the people of the Pacific
• with the support of development partners committed to the
• resilient development of Pacific island countries and territories; P.C.C.C will support, coordinate and strengthen partnerships, on
• climate action and efforts designed to build resilience
• build regional capacities to respond to climate change, and
• The P.C.C.C will build resilience in the context of climate change
• as a cross-cutting issue, affecting every community and sector; enhance and strengthen climate actions and climate resilient
• development in alignment with the Framework for Pacific Regionalism, the Framework for Resilient Development of the Pacific, the Pacific Islands Meteorological Strategy, the Paris Agreement, and other relevant regional and global frameworks and agreements;
• P.C.C.C will also function as a hub of innovation for delivery of climate change and integrated disaster risk management knowledge and services to Pacific Island members where partners and CROP can work together to develop joint projects, conduct applied research, and deliver coordinated support to PICTs;
• The P.C.C.C will also serve as a platform for fostering and enhancing genuine partnership and collaboration, as envisaged by the Governments of Japan and Samoa when they generously gave their support to the establishment of the PCCC;
• a knowledge and research hub for regional meteorological services support
The building will be constructed according to green guidelines which includes 50% of the energy to be driven by solar panels with the hope that it will be powered 100% by renewable energy in the future.
It is intended to be a showcase of sustainable building technology in the Pacific.
“We all agree in the necessity of taking a holistic and long-term approach to addressing climate change,” said Maugaoleatuolo Shinya Aoki, Japanese Ambassador to Samoa.
“To this end, Japan intends to provide comprehensive assistance, in collaboration with the lead agency on climate change in the Pacific Region, S.P.R.E.P., including the development of the P.C.C.C. and capacity-building which supports the efforts for tackling climate change by the Pacific region as a whole.”
The special day also commemorated the launch of the 25 Year Anniversary of S.P.R.E.P. which was established as an independent organisation based in Samoa through the signing of the S.P.R.E.P. Agreement in June, 1993.