“The University has a long-held role in the Pacific and recognises we must work hand-in-hand with our Pacific neighbours if we are serious about facing the issues arising from global warming. This is a major step in thinking about how we might work more effectively across the Pacific” – Professor Larner
The bonds of partnership have been strengthened between the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P) and Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.
This is the very first official MoU between S.P.R.E.P and a New Zealand based University. The agreement will see the two partners work to achieve the shared objective of Pacific environment protection and the strengthening of systems, institutions, organisations and individuals to do so.
This includes the areas of coral research, climate change research, development studies, enhancing of biosecurity, democratic and participatory governance in relation to the environment, political-economy of climate change, social and environmental accounting and, organisational and social change.
“It is an honour for S.P.R.E.P to participate in this signing today with such an esteemed university that was founded in 1897, we look forward to the full benefits of this partnership reaching through to our members and our island nations as we strive to strengthen the resilience of our Pacific environment,” said Leota Kosi Latu, Director-General of S.P.R.E.P.
S.P.R.E.P is a regional intergovernmental environment organisation that promotes co-operation in the Pacific region and to provide assistance in order to protect and improve its environment and to ensure sustainable development for present and future generations.
Victoria University has nine faculties, of which seven conduct teaching and research.
Victoria University Provost Wendy Larner described signing the Memorandum as an historic occasion.
“Something really powerful is beginning,” she says. “The University has a long-held role in the Pacific and recognises we must work hand-in-hand with our Pacific neighbours if we are serious about facing the issues arising from global warming. This is a major step in thinking about how we might work more effectively across the Pacific.”
Professor Larner said while the science on climate change is clear, the hard part now is translating science through institutions into policies and initiatives that have a meaningful impact on the communities.
The signing of the MoU took place after the Pacific Climate Change Conference which was hosted by Victoria University from 15 – 17 February for which Leota was featured as the closing keynote speaker.
Leota said he’s looking forward to implementing some concrete initiatives.
The Memorandum provides a platform to “translate the dialogue we have heard over the last three days [at the conference] into action. The talking is done, now is the time for action”.