The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Government of Solomon Islands have signed a letter of agreement (LOA) for the Greening of the 2023 Pacific Games initiative.
The support delivered through the Pacific Climate Change Centre (PCCC) underlies the partnership and collaboration between SPREP and the Solomon Islands Government.
The signing between the Director General of SPREP, Sefanaia Nawadra and the Permanent Secretary of Solomon Islands Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management & Meteorology (MECDM), DrMelchior Mataki, took place during the Sixth Meeting of the Pacific Meteorological Council (PMC-6) at Sofitel in Denarau, Fiji on Wednesday.
Solomon Islands will host the XVII Pacific Games (SOL2023) from 19 November – 02 December 2023 in its capital city of Honiara. More than 5,000 athletes, technical officials and support staff from 24 countries are expected to take part.
SPREP’s Director General,Nawadara, said the Secretariat recognises SOL2023 not just as a platform to bring about behavioural change for addressing waste and pollution issues, it is also a chance to raise awareness and inspire behavioural change amongst Pacific communities with regards to safeguarding and the protection of the environment.
“We are very pleased to be able to work in partnership with the Government of Solomon Islands and our Pacific communities in this greening of the Games initiative to make SOL2023 a successful event,” he said.
“We started this initiative with the XVI Pacific Games in Samoa which was very successful and we look forward to continue this work in the Solomon Islands. Our goal is to pass on the legacy to our children for a cleaner, healthier environment and Pacific,” said Nawadra.
Funded by Australia, SPREP’s support for the Greening of the Games, valued at more than SBD$800,000(US$92,264), is channelled through the PCCC. The PCCC involvement is part of its key function in driving innovative solutions to climate change. In this instance, the broader targeted greening activities will be tied to carbon offsetting for the games and also multiple benefits from reducing heat levels and resilience in general.
A team from the PCCC has been working with the Government of Solomon Islands on the implementation of activities covered by the agreement. SPREP is also engaged with the Solomon Islands Government to address waste management activities for the Pacific Games including a legislation to ban the use of single use plastic bags. .
“The Government and the people of the Solomon Islands are very grateful to SPREP, and the Australian Government, for lending their support for the hosting of the Pacific Games,” Dr Mataki said.
“I want to say that we are very appreciative of the support from SPREP and Australia and I know it will go a long way to addressing the environmental challenges that hosting an event of the Pacific Games’ magnitude brings.”
While the targeted support is focused on the Pacific Games, the longer-term vision is to contribute towards a greener and a more resilient Honiara City. One of the activities focusses on supporting two Pacific Games villages to become carbon neutral by offsetting the emissions through tree planting and greening activities. This is part of the efforts and commitment by the Solomon Island Government in partnership with SPREP to implement its National Determine Contribution (NDC) and Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS).
The support from SPREP aligns strategically with the Solomon Islands Government’s Safe and Green Games Strategy that was launched in March 2023.
The Pacific Climate Change Centre (PCCC) is the regional centre of excellence for climate change information, research and innovation, hosted at SPREP. The PCCC is a partnership between the Governments of Japan and Samoa. It is funded under grant aid through JICA for Samoa as the host country of SPREP.