Director General Sefanaia Nawadra with Chinese Ambassador to Samoa Chao Xiaoliang
Climate Change Resilience
General News

3 August 2022, Apia – The partnership between the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the People’s Republic of China continues to grow from strength to strength, with the handover of China’s annual USD 200,000 contribution to the Pacific’s premier organisation for the protection of the environment. 

The People’s Republic of China has been a long-term partner of the Secretariat, providing financial assistance to bolster the work of the organisation annually since 1998. In 2017, the annual contribution was increased from USD 150,000 to USD 200,000 as a result of the commitment made by President Xi Jinping to support our Pacific Islands in improving their capability to address climate change. 

The Chinese Ambassador to China, His Excellence Chao Xiaoliang, officially handed over the cheque for USD 200,000 to SPREP’s Director General, Mr Sefanaia Nawadra, earlier this morning. 

“China honours SPREP’s leading voice within the Pacific region to address climate and environmental crises. Since 1998, the Chinese government has been providing yearly financial assistance to SPREP which has contributed substantially to supporting the activities and capacity building of the organisation,” Ambassador Chao said. 

According to His Excellency, China announced at the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly that it would scale up its Nationally Determined Contributions by adopting more vigorous policies and measures, and strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. 

“This is an aspiring but arduous goal, especially when China has the largest population and the fastest industrialisation in the world. However, with great effort and determination, China is gaining substantial progress.” 

“China stands firm with Pacific Island countries against climate challenges. In recent years, projects such as hydropower stations, energy-efficient lights programmes, ecotype agriculture demonstration and cooperation have been launched within the region.”

“As we in China often say, ‘The going may be tough when one walks alone, but it gets easier when people walk together.’ I look forward to further deepening the partnership between China and SPREP, and would like to convey our best wishes for our joint efforts to reach a greater harmony between human and nature,” His Excellency concluded by saying. 

Mr Nawadra expressed his gratitude to His Excellency as well as the Government and people of the People’s Republic of China for their continued support. This has helped provide critical support in strengthening the capacity of SPREP to assist Pacific Island Members as they strive towards a healthy, sustainable and resilient environment and we look forward to increasing support and collaboration with China.

The financial assistance received in 2021 helped to enhance the capacity of Member countries in response to the challenges of ocean acidification and enhanced the communications capacity of SPREP for climate change reporting.   This support also helped strengthen SPREP’s governance systems and processes, as well as supported SPREP staff capacity building and performance development programmes.  

He added that whilst the global community has been grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Secretariat continues its operations in the midst of health and economic impacts which have changed the world forever. 

“To have this gesture of continued support from the Government of the People’s Republic of China is a positive signal that even in these uncertain times, we can work together to help countries in the Pacific region enhance and protect their environment,” he added. 

In relaying his thanks to the Ambassador, Mr Nawadra concluded by saying, “The impact of your government’s contribution has made and will continue to make regarding China’s commitment to helping Pacific Island countries achieve sustainable development through the work of SPREP is acknowledged with sincere appreciation.” 

For more information, please contact Ms Audrey Brown-Pereira, SPREP Executive Officer, at [email protected]