Samoa is yet again the location of a Pacific regional event showcasing dedication from the island region to sustainability.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) will be holding its 28th Meeting of Officials in Apia, next week.
The Meeting brings together Members of the governing council of SPREP to discuss strategic issues and to approve the 2018-19 work plan for the organisation.
It comes a week after the Pacific island leaders gathered in Samoa and committed to fast tracking the development of policies to ban the use of single-use plastic bags, plastic and Styrofoam.
A number of different issues, such as how this commitment can become a reality, is on the agenda to be discussed by the 14 Pacific island and five metropolitan members and partners of SPREP.
“This is a nostalgic gathering because it will be the last annual meeting for SPREP,” says Director General, Leota Kosi Latu.
“After this, we shall be meeting every two years, so it will be more important than ever that we are all clear about the organisation’s medium-term goals and the actions to be undertaken collaboratively by SPREP members and supporters, between now and the end of 2019.
“We’re also buoyed by the innovative call from the Pacific leaders indicating their commitment to addressing serious issues we are now facing, not only in the Pacific region, but across the world. The issue of marine debris was given high level commitment by Forum Leaders in their Communique, last Friday.
“The faster we are able to ban single-use plastic bags, plastic and Styrofoam, then the greater the strides we are making towards a sustainable Pacific.”
True to the work at the core of the Secretariat, SPREP will also be offering delegates the opportunity to take part in the Samoan carbon offset programme in partnership with the Samoa Conservation Society (SCS) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE).
The 28th Meeting of Officials will be preceded by the Ninth Meeting of the Parties to the Waigani Convention and the Fourteenth Meeting of the Parties to the Noumea Convention, as well as the Pacific Environment Forum, which will have the overall theme of ‘Connecting the Dots: Environment, Knowledge, and Governance’.
The Waigani Convention was established to control trans-boundary pollutant movements and support the management of hazardous waste within the Pacific region. This year, its 13 Parties will discuss a ten-year strategic framework to guide and direct the work of the Convention.
The Noumea Convention is SPREP’s guiding international legal instrument, promoting the implementation of sound environmental management and the sustainable development of natural resources throughout the Pacific.
Vicki Hall, Director of Waste Management and Pollution Control at SPREP, thinks that in the light of the increasing amount of global concern about plastics in the ocean, this year’s meeting will discuss strategic ways to manage marine pollution.
“In response to calls from its members and the international community, SPREP is working with several partners, including United Nations Environment, Food and Agriculture Organisation and the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, to develop a plan to take concrete actions to reduce the amount of plastic litter in our ocean,” Dr. Hall says.
The Convention meetings will take place on Thursday 14 and Friday 15 September 2017.
The Pacific Environment Forum will be held on 18 September, followed by the 28th SPREP Meeting of Officials from 19 to 21 September. All the meetings will be held at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel, Apia.