21st June – To commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the 'SPREP Treaty', the staff of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) planted 1,000 trees in support of Samoa’s 2 Million Trees campaign.
Twenty-six years ago on June 16 in 1993, SPREP was established with the signing of the 'SPREP Treaty'. SPREP is mandated to, "promote cooperation in the Pacific region and provide assistance in order to protect and improve its environment and to ensure sustainable development for present and future generations."
“We have much to celebrate - yet while our environmental challenges are growing, so are the partnerships and positive actions of our Member countries to combat these,” said Mr Kosi Latu, Director General of SPREP.
“To celebrate the environmental achievements and milestones reached by our Pacific islands in partnership with SPREP, we are planting 1,000 trees. This is also to pay tribute to our gracious host, Samoa, and support their 2 Million Trees campaign.”
The hike and planting of the 1,000 trees is taking place at the Vailima Reserve with assistance from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE)’s Forestry Division near the base of Mt Vaea.
Samoa’s 2 Million Trees campaign began in 2015 and will finish in 2020.
MNRE is leading this national effort, and promoting sustainable forest management, rehabilitation of degraded land areas, preservation of water resources, protection of biological diversity and mitigating the effects of climate change in Samoa. The theme for this campaign is, “Save a life by planting a tree.”
Seedlings are provided free of charge for planting to any groups, organisations, companies or even individuals who want aid the campaign's efforts by providing their time and free labour.
The effort is also connected to the greening of the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games initiative, in that athletes and teams have participated in the planting of trees, and also involves programs with the schools of Samoa.
Athletes, officials and visitors to the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games will also be provided the opportunity to support the 2 Million Trees campaign at sites near the Faleata Sports Complex to allow for convenient access over the duration of the Pacific Games.
“We are pleased to be part of this excellent initiative of Samoa to celebrate our special SPREP day,” said Mr Latu. “And we would also like to thank our Member Governments and our partners for their support and partnerships throughout our history. We continue to grow in strength and quality service for our Members, and we look forward to many more years of working together in the future."
The tree planting was organised by the SPREP Social Club with technical assistance from the Forestry Division of MNRE, and welcomed all SPREP staff and their families to participate.
This is the fifth tree planting activity facilitated by SPREP for staff to support the 2 Million tree campaign. In 2018 SPREP planted over 5,270 trees in total with assistance from MNRE.