The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) continues to strengthen partnerships for a resilient Blue Pacific through the first SPREP Partnership Dialogue taking place in Samoa, at the Taumeasina Island Resort, on Monday.

The meeting attended by SPREP Members, partners and donors to strengthen collaboration, coordination and networking, kick started the week of the 31st SPREP Meeting of Officials and associated meetings, guided by the theme “SPREP 30th, Sustainable, transformative and resilient for a Blue Pacific.”

The Partnership Talanoa was officially opened by the Director General of SPREP, Mr Sefanaia Nawadra, who recalled being challenged by the former European Union Ambassador for the Pacific and to Fiji, His Excellency Sujiro Seam, when he started his role as Director General in 2022.

“My good friend Sujiro asked me; how can we, who are your partners, who are not members of SPREP, be involved with the governance meeting that SPREP has? Coming from the European Union, our biggest donor over the last few years, I had to take notice,” Nawadra said.

“Looking around the room today and the great turn out we have here at Taumeasina, the large interest of donors like Australia, New Zealand, the European Union, Japan, France and the United Nations along with NGOs, Private Sector and Technical Partners means that it was not only Sujiro waiting for this opportunity. I am delighted to welcome you all today and I look forward to the outcomes of this talanoa, and reporting to SPREP members and Ministers, and back to my friend Sujiro that a dream we had then is now a reality.”

Photo: SPREP

SPREP is the region’s key inter-governmental organisation for environment and sustainable development, which exists to promote cooperation in the South Pacific Region and to provide assistance in order to protect and improve the environment and to ensure sustainable development for present and future generations. The Secretariat is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year.

“Our 30th anniversary is a time of reflection, time to take stock of where we are as a collective, as a membership, and as a Secretariat. Today is about bringing our partners to sit with us to discuss together how we start to set ourselves for the next thirty years,” Nawadra said.

“Today is an opportunity for our partners to share how they can and want to help with the collective work we have before us, as we look to serve our Pacific communities.”

The 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent is a critical part of the journey ahead, the SPREP Director General told the meeting.

“Our leaders have always advocated the need to address the triple planetary crisis,” he said. “In their wisdom, they have put together the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent which represents the ongoing commitment of the region to work together as one.

“It’s a Strategy that’s not just for Pacific countries, or for CROP agencies, it’s a strategy for everyone who work within these jurisdictions. All of us, including development partners and donors must make sure our work fits into what the 2050 Strategy wants. The same applies to SPREP and any other agency who wants to work in the Pacific.”

Photo: SPREP

SPREP’s Director General Nawadra reiterated the value of meaningful, long lasting, and productive partnerships and collaborations, in the effort to fulfil the Secretariat’s vision of ‘a resilient Pacific environment, sustaining our livelihoods and natural heritage in harmony with our cultures.’

“Our gathering today is very important in our efforts to continue to strengthen these structures, collaborations and partnerships.”

The 31st SPREP Meeting of Officials and associated meetings are taking place at Taumeasina Island Resort in Samoa this week, from 4-8 September 2023. The meetings are guided by the theme: “SPREP@30th Sustainable, transformative and resilient for a Blue Pacific.”

The 31st SPREP Meeting of Officials and associated meetings bring together SPREP’s 21 Pacific Island Member countries, 5 Metropolitan Members and partners to discuss strategic issues pertaining to the organisation, and to approve the 2024-2025 work plan. The 21 Pacific Island Member countries and territories of SPREP are: American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna. The five Metropolitan members of SPREP are: Australia, France, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

In our efforts to fulfil our vision of ‘a resilient Pacific environment, sustaining our livelihoods and natural heritage in harmony with our cultures’, SPREP is extremely grateful to our valued Members, development partners, donors, our CROP family, and stakeholders.