Submitted by leannem on Fri, 07/10/2020 - 10:57
July 10, 2020 by leannem
General News

The following is part of a Q&A series on the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)’s staff. In this series, we will be introducing you to members of our SPREP team, giving you an opportunity to learn more about what we do. 

Ms Audrey Brown-Pereira is employed at SPREP as the Executive Officer. She is part of a team that supports the Director General implement SPREP’s four strategic priorities on climate change resilience, island and ocean ecosystems, waste management and pollution control, and environmental monitoring and governance. These are all environmental challenges from SPREP’s Strategic Plan 2017-2026 which its Members have prioritised and endorsed as areas that require the focus of SPREP and goals to achieve for the benefit of the Pacific region. 

Q: How do you work with our Members to address these environmental challenges? 
A: In my role, I am part of a team that provides support for the Executive as our leadership team. Hence, by facilitating, coordinating and working with Members, staff, and partners, I ensure that SPREP is responsive, and accountable for the work we do, to achieve our regional and organisational goals.  

Q: What are your three biggest achievements with SPREP for our Members? 
A:  These are not individual achievements but rather areas, which I have been part of a team to support. 
The first would be working alongside my colleagues over the many years, to support our Members’ vision of the Pacific Climate Change Centre. This was made possible with the support of Japan and Samoa, with the assistance of New Zealand. The PCCC was completed in 2019 and officially opened by the Hon. Tuilaepa Prime Minister of Samoa as part of our Environment Ministers’ High Level Talanoa: ‘A Resilient Blue Pacific’. 
The second would have to be working with my colleagues and our host partners Fiji and New Zealand to coordinate the design, construction and management of the Pacific and Koronivia Pavilion in Katowice, Poland at COP24 in 2018. The Pavilion provided a platform for an amplified Pacific voice in the heart of the negotiations, which we were privileged to continue through the Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion in 2019 at COP25 in Spain. 
Finally, one of my first key tasks when I started at SPREP in 2014 was working with Members, the Secretariat, and a consultancy team for the Independent Corporate Review of SPREP and Mid-term Review of the SPREP Strategic Plan 2011-2015. It is always important for any organisation to reflect on what it has done, gain insight and perspective from outside itself and look at how it can do better, in connection with its purpose and constituency. The reviews were endorsed by Members at the 25th SPREP Meeting hosted in the Marshall Islands, and chaired by the Hon. Tony de Brum and the late Mr Bruce Kijiner. May they both rest in peace. 

Q: What are one or two highlights of working at SPREP? 
A: One highlight is the SPREP Open Days which usually have young people come on campus, engage with staff and learn more about SPREP. We also use this platform, to have young people learn about the environment from other young people like our former SPREP Youth Ambassador, Mr Brianna Fruean, who is an award winning climate activist, and Mr Jorim-Paul Philips, who took part in the Young Blake Expedition to the Kermadec Islands and shared with other youth about his experience. 
Another highlight would be serving as the Chief Rapporteur of the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable and Joint Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Roundtable in 2017. Working with our Members and Partners with CROP colleagues was rewarding, but you also got to hear firsthand what people are doing to address climate change and how we are doing it together in our Pacific region. Making sure that as a team we document these shared experiences, that helped inform next steps.  

Q: Where have you seen your work make a positive difference?
A: My work is behind the scenes, so you don’t often know or see what I do. It is not important what is seen but rather what it enables others to do.  

Q: What words of advice do you have for people to make our environment a better one? 
A: Start with simple steps at home and try to bring other on your journey including family and friends. As a mother, simple messages with my daughters to have respect for the environment, as we are all interconnected. People with the sky, the land and sea. 

Q: What words of advice do you have for people who would like to work at SPREP? 
A: Be open to learn new things about Pacific island people and our environment. Learn as much as you can about SPREP including through the people that work here and the vast resources that are available online. Keep a look out for opportunities that come up online and don’t hold back from anything.