16 May 2023, Kuching, Malaysia – Delegates from Pacific countries have left the 42nd Annual Conference of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) with a renewed appreciation of the need to build national capacity for environmental assessments and planning, and collaboration at the international level.
The conference hosted in Kuching, Malaysia from 8th to 12th May 2023, brought together over 600 environmental assessment practitioners, researchers, and policymakers from around the world to discuss how impact assessment and leadership can accelerate transformation and sustain resilience in a world marred by pressing adversities that require immediate and impactful solutions.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) supported the Pacific delegation, consisting ofMs. Della Savaiinaea, Assistant Chief Executive Officer for the Planning and Urban Management Agency of Samoa; Mr Bryan Star, Director for Nauru Department of Environment; and Mr. Osborne Melenamu, Senior Engineer with the Vanuatu Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation.
Mr. Bryan Star, Director for Nauru Department of Environment, expressed his enthusiasm for Nauru's participation at the meeting.
"Nauru is excited to be part of the Pacific delegation attending the IAIA23 conference,” he said.
“Our recent passing of the Environmental Management and Climate Change Act 2020 has laid the foundation for comprehensive environmental planning and management in Nauru. We are now actively working towards establishing Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, and the invaluable insights gained from this conference have been truly eye-opening.
A significant highlight of the conference's opening day was the World Bank Day, which provided a valuable opportunity for SPREP and the Pacific Islands delegates to engage with senior officials from the World Bank. These productive discussions centred around areas of mutual interest and potential cooperation on environmental and social sustainability in the Pacific.
SPREP met with representatives from the World Bank, including Ms Louise Cord, the Global Director for Social Sustainability and Inclusion; Mr Ross Butler and Rachelle Marburg, Senior Social Development Specialists; and Ms Nathalie Staelens, Senior Environmental Engineer and Regional Safeguards Coordinator for East Asia Pacific.
"We are delighted to have actively participated in the esteemed World Bank Day at IAIA23," said Mr. Jope Davetanivalu, Director for the Environmental Monitoring and Governance Programme of SPREP. "The Pacific Islands face unique and pressing environmental challenges, and we welcome every opportunity to engage with esteemed partners like the World Bank to strengthen our collective efforts in addressing Environmental and Social Challenges for developments."
SPREP's participation at IAIA23 underscores the organisation's commitment to building national capacity for environmental assessments and planning by facilitating knowledge sharing and collaboration at the international level. The IAIA23 conference offered a wide range of workshops, topics and a platform for networking, sharing experiences, and learning from professionals and practitioners around the world.
SPREP and Pacific Island participation at the IAIA conference is supported through the European Union initiated capacity building project phase 3 titled, "Capacity Building related to Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Countries", implemented by UN Environment executed by SPREP.
For more information on the IAIA conference, please contact Jope Davetanivalu, Director of Environmental Monitoring and Governance Programme, [email protected], Ivan Diarra, Pacific Network for Environmental Assessment (PNEA) Officer, [email protected].
To learn more about the ACPMEA 3 project, please visit http://www.sprep.org/Projects/acp-meas-project