SPREP began life in the late 1970s as a joint initiative of SPC, SPEC, ESCAP and UNEP - eventually functioning as a component of UNEP's Regional Seas Programme. The Programme received further impetus as a result of the 1982 Conference on the Human Environment in the South Pacific. Following a period of expansion and long deliberations, SPREP left SPC in Noumea in 1992 and relocated to Samoa. It achieved autonomy as an independent inter-governmental organisation with the signing of the Agreement Establishing SPREP in Apia on 16 June 1993.
SPREP (the Secretariat) is the region’s key inter-governmental organisation for environment and sustainable development, and is one of several inter-governmental agencies comprising the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP).
Under the Agreement Establishing SPREP, the purposes of SPREP are 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 (Art.2).
SPREP's vision is: The Pacific environment - sustaining our livelihoods and natural heritage in harmony with our cultures.
SPREP also functions as the Secretariat of 2 (formerly 3) regional conventions: the Noumea Convention, the Waigani Convention and the Apia Convention (suspended).