Staff Podcast

podcast SPREP staff produced weekly audio interviews with Radio Australia - Pacific Beat, Radio New Zealand and other international radio programs on a range of environmental issues in the Pacific. Listed below are the latest developments in this series.

SPREP marks start of new environmental action plan

eight col kosi latuThe Pacific's environmental agency chief says their 28th meeting of officials in Samoa this week marks a new strategic direction. Last year SPREP agreed a new plan charting the strategic direction for the next ten years. The agency's director general Kosi Latu told Dominic Godfrey that this year's meeting marks the start of an action plan to get there.
Presenter: Dominic Godfrey (Radio NZ)
Speaker: Kosi Latu, Director-General, SPREP (pictured)
Listen: podcast1

Small Pacific Countries Seek to Improve Weather Services

Kosi Latu photoThe director general of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme says there is growing political awareness of the importance of weather services in the Pacific. Meteorological officials from around the Pacific are meeting in Honiara this week ahead of a meeting of ministers in charge of met offices. Kosi Latu told Don Wiseman one issue that has been discussed in Honiara is the need to extend or improve forecasting services to some of the smaller countries such as Tokelau.
Presenter: Don Wiseman (Radio New Zealand)
Speaker: Kosi Latu, Director-General, SPREP (pictured)
Listen: podcast1

Calls to stop dumping by fleets supported by Pacific leaders

kosi webThe Pacific's environmental agency chief says he has received heartening support for his call to stop fishing fleets dumping waste. SPREP director-general Kosi Latu was speaking during the Fiji hosted UN Oceans Conference in New York. Mr Latu caught up with Dominic Godfrey about his presentation on marine pollution and the 10-thousand recorded cases of waste dumping in the Pacific by purse-seine fishing vessels over a 12-year period.
Presenter: Dominic Godfrey (Radio New Zealand)
Speaker: Kosi Latu, Director-General, SPREP (pictured)
Listen: podcast1

Pacific pins hopes on new declaration to save whales

Michael DonoghueEleven Pacific nations hope that new measures will help to conserve whales in the region's waters. At a meeting last week in tonga they signed the Whale Declaration. The threatened and migratory species adviser of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, or SPREP, Michael Donoghue, told Sela Jane Aholelei what they hope this will achieve.
Presenter: Sela Jane Aholelei (Radio New Zealand)
Speaker: Michael Donohue, Threatened and Migratory Species Adviser, SPREP (pictured)
Listen:podcast1

Pacific’s united voice can help mitigate climate change

Tommy MooreA spokesperson from the Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment Programme says the Paris Agreement represents a great first step in the global commitment to addressing climate change. However, SPREP's Dr Tommy Moore says there is still a lot more that needs to be done to achieve that goal. Last year's Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation came into effect on Friday 4 November. It aims to arrest the global economy's addiction to fossil fuels and limit a rise in average world temperatures to "well below" 2 degrees celsius above pre-industrial times. Dr Moore spoke with Dominic Godfrey about how Pacific countries can continue to lobby for change using their united voice.
Presenter:Domnic Godfrey (Radio New Zealand)

Speaker: Tommy Moore, Pacific Island Global Ocean Observing System Officer, SPREP (pictured)
Listen: podcast1


 

Officials in Nauru taking action on asbestos safety

StewartNauru is taking action to improve the safety of asbestos removal work around the island, and now has 12 fully-trained officials to keep an eye on safety standards. The government has been removing asbestos from households since late last year, but there has been concern that workers were not being protected from dangerous asbestos fibres, and that the discarded material was not being disposed of properly. The safety training was delivered by SPREP's PacWaste project, and manager Stewart Williams says the Nauru government deserves credit for its efforts.
Presenter: Michael Walsh (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Stewart Williams, PacWaste Project Manager, SPREP, (pictured)
Listen:podcast1

Pacific meteorologists focus on improving community warnings ahead of natural disasters

salesaMeteorologists from around the Pacific region have gathered to consider ways to improve their forecasting, particularly at times when communities need rapid and accurate information ahead of major weather events. The Pacific Island Meteorological Strategy workshop was held at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme. The Strategy is aiming to improve what are called end-to-end Multi Hazard Early Warning Systems. Salesa Nihmei, SPREP Meteorology and Climate Officer says trying to get the information to the people in a timely manner is an ongoing issue.
Presenter: Richard Ewart (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Salesa Nihmei, Meteorology & Climate Officer, SPREP (pictured)
Listen: podcast1

Endangered sharks and stingrays to be protected by CITIES listing

Michael DonoghueSpecies of sharks and sting rays are to be protected after nations at the CITES forum in South Africa voted overwhelmingly in favour of listing. Silky sharks, all three species of thresher sharks and all nine species of mobula rays or devil rays are to be listed. Mike Donoghue, Threatened and Migratory Species Adviser at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP), says the listing is significant as it means these endangered species will no longer be under the control fishing interests.
Presenter: Kerri Worthington (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Mike Donoghue Threatened & Migratory Species Adviser, SPREP. (pictured)
Listen:podcast1

New Pacific environmental guidelines to address rising tourism and deep-sea mining

Melanie BradleyPacific island calls for stronger environmental systems have been heeded, with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, SPREP, launching new guidelines for environmental impact assessment at its annual meeting last week. SPREP's Environmental Planning Officer Melanie Bradley says the new guidelines are needed to reflect growth in tourism and transport sectors and the emergence of resource ventures like deep-sea mining.
Presenter: Richard Ewart (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Melanie Bradley, Environmental Planning Officer, SPREP. (pictured)
Listen:podcast1

Efforts to tackle asbestos across Pacific

StewartUntil the old Gizo hospital in Solomon Islands caught fire in July, no-one knew that the building contained asbestos. A hazardous waste watchdog in the Pacific is warning that moves to rid the region of asbestos must be a priority. SPREP's PacWaste project is aiming for an asbestos-free Pacific by conducting an inventory of existing asbestos from so called legacy products that were used in cladding in the 1970s - 90s Stewart Williams, the PacWaste project manager, says it's evident the substance is turning up in new building materials and efforts to rid the region of asbestos are continually set back.
Presenter: Kerri Worthington (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Stewart Williams, PacWaste Project Manager, SPREP (pictured)
Listen:podcast1

Solomons fire sparks call for Pacific-wide ban on asbestos

Stewart WilliamsNew asbestos discovered after a hospital fire in Solomon Islands has sparked a call for a Pacific-wide ban on the toxic substance. The call from the regional environmental body SPREP comes because the Gizo hospital in the Western Solomons had been cleared of old asbestos in a regional study conducted prior to the fire. Local inspectors however identified asbestos materials at the site in the aftermath of the fire on the 22nd of July. This was confirmed by experts from the Pacific Hazardous Waste Management Project (PacWaste) who helped to clear the site. The team identified new building materials used in recent renovations at the hospital as the most likely source of the contamination. PacWaste project manager Stewart Williams told Koroi Hawkins the cost of cleaning up old asbestos in the region is already daunting without more being imported.
Presenter: Koroi Hawkins (Radio NZ)
Speaker: Stewart Williams, PacWaste Project Manager, SPREP (pictured)
Listen: podcast1

Niue receives training to manage environmental impacts from tourism

Melanie BradleyNew regulations governing environmental impact assessments on Niue are to be introduced soon. So ahead of time, a team from SPREP has been to the island to provide training. The aim is to ensure that those tasked with protecting the environment from the impact of future developments know how the assessment system works, and how to get the best out of it. SPREP's Environmental Planning Officer, Melanie Bradley was part of the group that trained up the Niueans, and she says the hope is the new regulations will help manage the impacts of increased tourism on the island.
Presenter: Richard Ewart (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Melanie Bradley, Environmental Planning Officer, SPREP (pictured)
Listen:podcast1

International review highlights impact of ocean acidification

Tommy MooreThe International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress continues in Hawai'i has just released a comprehensive review on the impact on humans and marine life of ocean warming, calling it one of this generation's greatest hidden challenges. Tommy Moore, from the Pacific Islands Global Ocean Observing System Officer at SPREP, says along with the impact of climate change, ocean acidification is already having a noticeable effect on the Pacific Ocean.
Presenter: Richard Ewart (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Tommy Moore, Pacific Islands Oceans Observing System Officer, SPREP (pictured)
Listen:podcast1

Marine protection on the agenda at Pacific meeting of CITES members

Michael DonoghueSamoa is playing play host to a regional meeting of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora this week. The gathering comes ahead of the global CITES conference in South Africa next month, and provides an opportunity to prepare an agenda on the most important issues facing the Pacific. Michael Donoghue, Adviser on Threatened and Migratory Species for SPREP, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program says regional concerns are centred on the protection of several important marine species.
Presenter: Richard Ewart (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Mike Donoghue, Threatened and Migratory Species Adviser, SPREP (pictured)
Listen:podcast1

FINPAC seeks to improve weather and warning services in the Pacific

Christina Gale website photoFinland is about as far away from the Pacific as you can get, but that country's government is funding a project to the tune of around five and a half million Australian dollars to deliver improved weather, climate and warning services to the region. Working with SPREP, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program, the FINPAC project which is targeting most of the Pacific Island states and territories is three-quarters of the way through its four year term. Project manager Christina Leala-Gale has been reflecting on what FINPAC has achieved over the first three years.
Presenter: Richard Ewart (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Christina Leala-Gale, FINPAC Project - Project Manager, SPREP (pictured)
Listen:podcast1

Fiji and Vanuatu still to tackle disaster waste from cyclones Winston and Pam

Stewart WilliamsOne of the ongoing problems that Fiji faces in the aftermath of Cyclone Winston is the disposal of large amounts of disaster waste, and more than 17 months after Cyclone Pam, Vanuatu is still struggling with the same problem. It's an issue that's high on the agenda of the inaugural Clean Pacific Roundtable, and another post-disaster gathering that's going on in Fiji this week. Stewart Williams says it's important to act early, and in a more co-ordinated way than after Winston and other recent extreme weather events in the Pacific.
Presenter:Richard Ewart (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Stewart Williams, PacWaste Project Manager, SPREP (pictured)
Listen:podcast1

Drive to ensure that hazardous waste is cleared away quickly post disasters

Faafetai SagapoluteleClearing away the debris after a cyclone strikes would seem to be an obvious part of any disaster recovery effort, but the evidence suggests that hazardous waste can often be left lying around for a prolonged period. And while the waste remains so does the threat to public health and public safety. Now a Japanese-funded project called J-PRISM is pushing for Pacific countries to ensure that there are mechanisms in place to deal with waste removal before disaster strikes. Faafetai Sagapolutele says the situation is being made more urgent by the rising frequency of serious weather events across the Pacific.
Presenter: Richard Ewart (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Fa'afetai Sagapolutele, JPRISM Assistant Chief Adviser, SPREP (pictured)
Listen:podcast1

Pacific roundtable focuses on planning to control rubbish and pollution

Frank GriffinThe difficult task of controlling rubbish and pollution in the Pacific has been in the spotlight at the inaugural Clean Pacific Roundtable in Suva this week. The event was coordinated by SPREP bringing together agencies and governments involved in waste management and pollution control from across the region. Organiser Dr Frank Griffin, says Pacific countries are generally under-resourced to deal with the large amounts of debris so it's important to have an action plan in place beforehand.
Presenter: Richard Ewart (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Dr Frank Griffin, Hazardous Waste Management Adviser, SPREP (pictured)
Listen:podcast1

New and improved climate change action plan being developed for Pacific islands nations

Roger CPacific countries are often faced with the tricky task of balancing the needs and economic aspirations of their growing populations, without compromising the natural environment and delicate ecosystem of their islands. The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme is overseeing a project designed to create a single, integrated plan that will coordinate actions for addressing climate change and create sustainable solutions for the people of the Pacific islands. SPREP's Deputy Director General, Roger Cornforth, says building resilience to protect the local environment from climate change is one element that Pacific islanders can control.
Presenter: Richard Ewart (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Roger Cornforth, Deputy Director General, SPREP (pictured)
Listen:podcast1

Local Pacific communities to benefit from climate forecasts in a step up for meteorologists

SunnyMeteorologists from across the Pacific will gather at a regional workshop in Cook Islands later this week, to find out more about a new system for seasonal climate predictions. The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme is collaborating with the APEC Climate Centre to provide training on the latest software for the forecasters. SPREP's Coordinator for Climate Prediction Services, Sunny Seuseu, is expecting the new information to benefit smaller villages and communities in the Pacific.
Presenter: Richard Ewart (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Sunny Seuseu, Climate Prediction Services Coordinator, SPREP
Listen:podcast1

Locals in Tokelau to benefit from environmental impacts training

Jope DavetanivaluProtecting the environment on the atolls of Tokelau was at the heart of a recent visit to the territory by an advisory group from SPREP, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme. Their mission was to offer training in environmental impact assessments, at a time when sea walls are being built on Nukunonu atoll, and plans to build an airstrip for Tokelau are still to come to fruition. The aim is to ensure that development decisions are always taken with full knowledge of the likely impact on the environmentally sensitive island chain. Jope Davetanivalu says the training has also led to more co-operation between locals who live on the atoll.
Presenter: Richard Ewart (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Jope Davetanivalu, Planning and Capacity Development Adviser, SPREP, (pictured)
Listen:podcast1

3D modelling offers new dimension to community planning in Cook Islands

vai webThe Vaka Puaikura community in the Cook Islands' capital Rarotonga have built a three dimensional model of their district to assist in conservation and land planning efforts. And training on P3DM, participatory three dimensional modelling, is expected to be offered to more communities in the islands in the near future. Vainuupo Jungblut from SPREP, the Secretariat of Pacific Regional Environment Programme, is the project's technical expert. He says the 3D modelling is a simple way for people to visualise how their communities may need to change to manage the impact of climate change.
Presenter: Richard Ewart (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Vainuupo Jungblut - Project Technical Expert - GEFPAS, SPREP (pictured)
Listen:podcast1

Facebook campaign to spread the message about protecting Pacific whales

Michael DonoghueA competition has been launched on Facebook to encourage people in the Pacific to show their appreciation for whales through art and photography. Michael Donoghue, advisor to the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme on threatened and migratory species says the competition is part of SPREP'S Protect Pacific Whales Ocean Voyagers campaign.
Presenter: Richard Ewart (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Mike Donoghue, Threatened & Migratory Species Adviser, SPREP (pictured)
Listen: podcast1

Weather literacy set to improve livelihoods

Christina Gale website photoOne of the innovative projects to tackle climate change in the Pacific involves teaching communities how to read and apply data from weather bureaux so the effects don't impact so readily on food production and water gathering. The Finnish Pacific Project - run by SPREP, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme - is a four-year project that aims to improve livelihoods by delivering effective weather, climate and early warning services.  Project manager Christina Leala Gale says that teaching communities about climate and weather data is vital to help them plan for the future.
Presenter: Bill Bainbridge (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Christina Leala-Gale, Finland Project - Project Manager, SPREP (pictured)
Listen:podcast1

New smart-phone technology to improve Pacific weather forecasting and communication

SunnyWith Pacific island nations facing so many weather-related issues, better forecasting systems is one way to improve national responses to disasters such as Cyclone Winston and the El Nino-related drought that caused so much hardship across the Pacific in the past year. The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is using IT training to improve the forecasting tools for weather bureau in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. Leading the learning is Sunny Seuseu, SPREP's Climate Prediction Services Coordinator, and he says one focus will be improving the way weather alerts are communicated, so ordinary people can understand every forecast.
Presenter: Richard Ewart (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Sunny Seuseu - Climate Prediction Services Coordinator, SPREP (pictured)
Listen:podcast1

Help for Tonga's threatened native birds to fight back against the invasive rat

david mThe impact of invasive species has long been a scourge on the flora and fauna of the Pacific islands, but in Tonga threatened native birds are fighting back with the assistance of rat eradication and control programmes. Working with the Tongan government, SPREP, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, has managed to clear two islands in the Tongatapu group over the past year, and they're targeting two more in the Vavau group next. Already rat control measures on Vavau's Mount Talau have led to a rise in the numbers of Tongan whistlers and other native birds, like the Polynesian triller and the Polynesian starling. David Moverley, SPREP's adviser on invasive species, says the rat plague is being tackled on two fronts.
Presenter: Richard Ewart (Radio Australia)
Speaker: David Moverley, Invasive Species Adviser, SPREP (pictured)
Listen:podcast1

Pacific's great whales under threat from climate change, pollution and deep sea mining

Michael DonoghueThe Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme has launched a two-year campaign to protect whales in the Pacific. While their numbers have recovered from the brink of extinction after two million were killed by whaling fleets last century, now they're under threat from entanglement, pollution, deep sea mining, and climate change. Michael Donoghue, SPREP's Threatened and Migratory Species Adviser, says recognising these threats is especially important, as whatever damage is done to whale populations is likely to also affect people living in the Pacific.
Presenter: Richard Ewart (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Mike Donohue, Threatened & Mirgratory Species Adviser, pictured
Listen:podcast1

Vanuatu and Cook Islands lead the way gaining Green Climate Fund grants

Kosi Latu photoVanuatu has joined Cook Islands as the first Pacific recipients of grants from the multi-billion dollar Green Climate Fund, which is tackling global warming by investing in low carbon and climate resilient development. Vanuatu is getting money to support project development, while Cook Islands' is spending on institutional strengthening with the aim of getting better access to climate finance opportunities in the future. Kosi Latu, the Director-General of SPREP, says the grants are the first step.
Presenter: Richard Ewart (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Kosi Latu, Director General, SPREP (pictured)
Listen:podcast1

SPREP's new chief aims for even louder Pacific voice

kosiThe newly appointed head of the region's main environmental agency aims to make the voice of Pacific island countries even louder at international negotiations on climate change. Leota Kosi Latu was appointed as Director General of SPREP at the end of last year. He told Sally Round there are innovative ways to have the region's concerns heard.
Presenter: Sally Round (Radio New Zealand)
Speaker: Kosi Latu - Director General, SPREP (pictured)
Listen:podcast1

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SPREP project develops better early warning systems for the Pacific

Sunny copyThere's a need to improve warning systems for all kinds of disasters right across the Pacific. A collaborative project between Finland and the Pacific is working to assist with that, by developing Pacific island country's ability to deliver effective weather, climate and other early warning services. It's a project coordinated through the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme. And Sunny Seuseu, who is currently in the Marshall Islands as part of SPREP's Pacific Met, says that country in particular would stand to benefit from better forecasting services.
Presenter: Richard Ewart (Radio Australia)
Speaker: Sunny Seuseu, Climate Prediction Services Coordinator, SPREP (pictured)
Listen:podcast1
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