Island and Ocean Ecosystems

4 September 2019, Apia, Samoa – The New Zealand Department of Conservation (NZDOC) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) officially signed a Declaration of Intent which sees the NZDOC become the first partner of the Pacific Regional Invasive Species Management Support Service (PRISMSS).

The signing took place at the conclusion of the second day of the 29th SPREP Meeting of Officials, between NZDOC Director General, Mr Lou Sanson, and SPREP Director General, Mr Kosi Latu. 

The partnership between the NZDOC and SPREP is a longstanding one, with several officers having been seconded to the Secretariat over the years to assist with its capacity needs in several key areas.

The PRISMSS is a regional mechanism, which facilitates the scaling up of invasive species management in the Pacific. It provides management support for on-the-ground invasive species actions through streamlining and coordinating activities and invasive species management experts.

It has five regional programmes, each with an expert who will lead in their respective field. One of these programmes is ‘Resilient Ecosystem-Resilient Communities’ in the area of relocation of species to restored habitat, which SPREP and NZDOC will be the leading experts of. 

The NZDOC will assist SPREP specifically with the governance and management of the PRISMSS in general, and Mr Shannan Mortimer has already been seconded to SPREP where he is coordinating and facilitating a Project Management Course to be held on 22 October to 22 November 2019.

They will also assist SPREP within the ‘Resilient Ecosystem-Resilient Communities’, and given its broad area of expertise, may also assist in any of the regional programmes where needed. 

The PRISMSS and the Programme Management Course are established under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) 6 Project titled “Strengthening national and regional capacities to reduce the impact of Invasive Alien Species on globally significant biodiversity in the Pacific”. It is funded by GEF, implemented by UN Environment and executed by SPREP and partner countries Niue, Republic of Marshall Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu.

The 29th SPREP Meeting of Officials is being held at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel in Apia, Samoa from 3 - 6 September. The Meeting will bring together SPREP’s 21 Pacific island Members countries and five metropolitan Members to discuss strategic issues pertaining to the organisation, and to approve the 2020-2021 work plan. The Environment Ministers’ High-Level Talanoa will be held on Friday 6 September.

The 21 Pacific island member countries and territories of SPREP are: American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna.

The five metropolitan members of SPREP are: Australia, France, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States of America.