SPREP facilitated the participation of 12 Pacific islanders to the annual conference of the New Zealand Association for Impact Assessment (NZAIA) held at the University of Auckland, 27 -28 November 2019. The theme of the conference addresses an important dimension of planning for climate change: “Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation: Assessing the Impacts”.
The two-day conference looked at the potential impacts of climate change adaptation and mitigation in New Zealand and the Pacific and emphasized the role that impact assessment can play to inform choice and design of adaptation and mitigation measures.
The SPREP Director General Mr. Kosi Latu in his keynote address said, “Climate change is the most pressing, the single most serious threat to our survival. It impacts us in every way. Imagine having no rivers, having no forests. Most of our culture is related to the ocean, land and the forest. If these things are impacted, then our culture will be gone as well; therefore, it is very important that we understand climate change impacts us in every matter of living”.
Mr. Latu highlighted the importance of walking the talk and emphasised that people must action what they speak about because it is very common that people speak about the issue and problem but always do the opposite.
He further reflected on the importance of EIA policies and pointed out that “In the Pacific, we need more than just the policies; we need legislation as well to back it up. In the region, we have legislation, but they are not being enforced and implemented in a way that they should be. And that is one of the many challenges that we the region face.”
Representatives from the Federated States of Micronesia, Tuvalu and Vanuatu also spoke at the conference and shared their own experiences from their respective countries on different topics discussed at the conference.
The NZAIA conference provided a good opportunity and platform for Pacific island participants to also learn from New Zealand’s experience and networked with a wide range of participants from universities, NGOs, private sector and industries, local and central government from across New Zealand.
FSM delegate Van Fread said the conference was an excellent opportunity to continue the conversations and build on the impact assessment and knowledge sharing initiated with SPREP at IAIA19 earlier this year. “EMG promised to strengthen the Pacific Network of Environmental Assessment and SPREP sponsoring the Pacific delegation to this NZAIA conference is part of delivering on that promise. I look forward to continuing the relationship with SPREPs EMG and the PNEA.”
SPREP facilitated the attendance of Pacific islanders to Auckland for the week of SEA consultation, impact assessment capacity building and attendance at the NZAIA19 conference. The SPREP team was led by Director General, Mr. Kosi Latu supported by Environmental Planning Adviser, Mr Jope Davetanivalu, Environmental Assessment Planning Officer, Dr Gregory Barbara, and EMG Programme Assistant, Ms Faasipa Lemalu. The consultation was made possible with funding support from the Government of Sweden through the UN Environment Programme.
For more information on the EIA process, please contact Jope Davetanivalu on email [email protected], or Greg Barbara on email [email protected].