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State of Environment reports milestone for region

Four Pacific countries have approved their State of the Environment reports with a fifth country going through a process of pre-approving theirs. The countries that have had their reports approved are the Cook Islands, Niue, Solomon Islands and Tonga with Papua New Guinea set to join them soon.

The Vailima-based Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P) confirmed the approvals, noting that it is a milestone for the region.

“One of S.P.R.E.P’s core functions is to support our Pacific island member countries in developing their national State of Environment Reports, and working in partnership with them to implement their environment actions and decisions based on the SoE Report," the Director General of S.P.R.E.P, Leota Kosi Latu, is quoted as saying.

"The five SoE report approvals in one year is a milestone achievement considering the current challenges and impacts of COVID-19. It clearly demonstrates Pacific island countries continued commitment and attention on the importance of environmental action, monitoring and reporting to support informed environmental planning and decision making at the national level.”

S.P.R.E.P had assisted the countries in the development of the reports. 

The State of the Environment reports present an overview of the countries’ environments across seven thematic areas which are Culture and Heritage, Atmosphere and Climate, Coastal and Marine, Freshwater Resources, Land, Biodiversity, and Built Environment.

The State of the Environment reports highlighted that all of the 5 countries have decreased their import of ozone depleting substances, increased their percentage of protected areas and increased their installation and generation of renewable energy.

The reports use the Drivers, Pressures, State, Impact and Response (D.P.S.I.R) model to describe the environment, causal relationships, and environmental effects, based on quantitative data relating to the state of the environment, supplemented by stakeholder input.

Commenting on his country’s 2019 State of the Environment report, Haden Talagi, Director of the Department of Environment, Ministry of Natural Resources, Niue, highlighted it as “a valuable resource that allows us to conduct effective environmental planning and decision making,” helping to “bring about a bluer and greener Niue as we forge ahead to a new normal.”

According to S.P.R.E.P, the State of the Environment reports also provide “an effective system” for reporting against national priorities, including reporting on international and regional commitments under the S.D.Gs, the Paris Agreement on climate change, the S.I.D.S Accelerated Modalities of Action  (S.A.M.O.A) Pathway, and the Noumea Convention for the Protection of Natural Resources and Environment of the South Pacific Region and Related Protocols on ensuring sound environmental management and development of natural resources.

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