gef islands
Waste Management and Pollution Control

16 February 2023, Auckland New Zealand - Pacific delegates gathered in Auckland, New Zealand today for the Global Environment Facility’s Implementing Sustainable Low and Non-Chemical Development in Small Island Developing States (ISLANDS) Pacific Project Second Steering Committee meeting.

The ISLANDS Pacific project is implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and executed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). The meeting brought together 14 participating countries to get their endorsement on regional and country work plans, discuss common challenges impacting project execution and reach an agreement on the strategic way forward.

“This meeting serves as a pivotal moment for us to realign our focus, assess our progress, and chart a course for the next year and beyond. Today, we will be making decisions for the project in 2024 around workplans, budget, staffing, procurement, and project duration,” said UNEP’s Task Manager, Mr Dickson Ho.

“As we reflect on our achievements and challenges thus far, it's crucial that we remain agile and adaptable. We should continue to deploy adaptive management strategies as we navigate project updates and uncertainties and seize opportunities where they present themselves,” he added.

Fiji assumed the role of the meeting's chair, succeeding Samoa. Ms. Senimili Nakora, the Acting Director of Environment of Fiji, acknowledged the work progressed by the outgoing Chair, Ms Katenia Rasch and said she remained positive that the project will forge ahead with implementation proper.

“At this important junction of getting things back on track after the management review of the project last year and other challenges such as the global pandemic which all have impacted the delivery of the project, we are optimistic that implementation is forward moving”.

“Please do utilise our SPREP PMU team for the support you need and communicate with them as much as possible,” she added.

The Director of the Waste Management and Pollution Control Division at SPREP, Mr Anthony Talouli while acknowledging the importance of chemicals in our everyday lives, cautioned the dangers it poses to human health and the environment.

“From lifesaving drugs to plant protection, innovations in chemistry can improve our health, food security and much more. However, if poorly used and managed, hazardous wastes and chemicals threaten human health and the environment,”.

“The threat posed by pollution driven mainly by wastes and hazardous chemicals is significant so much so that it is now recognized globally as part of the triple planetary crises alongside climate change and biodiversity loss,” he added.

The meeting successfully endorsed the 2024 workplan, forecast, procurement plan and budget revision.

Cook Islands was selected as the host for the next project steering committee in 2025.

The meeting follows the Pacific Preparatory Meeting for the Fourth Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4).


The Implementing Sustainable Low and Non-Chemical Development in Small Island Developing States (ISLANDS) program is a $515-million, five-year initiative backed by the Global Environment Facility (providing $61 million) and partners, and implemented with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Inter-American Development Bank. Participating countries include: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cabo Verde, Cook Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Kiribati, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Union of Comoros, and Vanuatu.