2 September 2020, Apia, Samoa – The second Executive Board (EB) meeting of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the first to be held virtually, was officially declared open by the Prime Minister of Samoa, Hon. Tuilaepa Lupesoli’ai Sailele Malielegaoi.
The three-day meeting, which is being held in lieu of the larger SPREP Meeting of Officials as per the new governance structure of SPREP which was passed in 2016, brings together members of the Troika of past, present and future Chairs of the SPREP Meeting – Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands – as well as representatives of SPREP’s member countries sub-groupings – French Polynesia representing the Polynesian and French speaking members, Guam representing the Micronesian members, and New Caledonia representing the Melanesian members.
Also joining the virtual meeting as observers are representatives from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Tonga, and the United Kingdom, as well as the United Nations Environment Programme, World Meteorological Organization, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
The Hon. Prime Minister of Samoa delivered the opening remarks to officially open the meeting, as the Outgoing Chair of the SPREP Meeting. He stated that the next three days provide opportunities for Board Members to hear from the Secretariat on key issues, for in-depth dialogue amongst peers with common goals, and for agreeing on our shared priorities.
The Hon. Prime Minister commended the strong efforts by the Secretariat to collaborate and coordinate closely with all other CROP agencies “in a manner conducive to collectivism in order to achieve our Vision of a Blue Pacific Continent.”
“As members of the Executive Board, you have been entrusted an onerous and challenging task and I urge you to think holistically but practically on durable solutions to help address our evolving new reality,” he concluded as saying.
The opening session of the second EB began with the appointment of Solomon Islands as the new Chair of the SPREP Meeting, with Guam as the Vice-Chair. This was done in accordance with SPREP Meeting procedures, which dictate that when the Meeting is hosted by the Secretariat, the role of Chair shall rotate alphabetically. Thus, with Samoa being the outgoing Chair of the SPREP Meeting, Solomon Islands now takes on the role of Chair.
The meeting invited Dr Melchior Mataki, representative of Solomon Islands, to assume the position of Chair, and also officially announced the assumption of the position of Vice-Chair by Guam which is being represented by Dr Austin Shelton.
Dr Mataki, along with the Director General of SPREP, Mr Kosi Latu, commended outgoing Chair, in particular Peseta Noumea Simi, who has been at the helm of SPREP for the past year, and expressed their appreciation for her leadership during a very uncertain and difficult period, and in facing the unusual circumstances the Secretariat faces today.
The Second Executive Board meeting is being held virtually from 2 – 4 September 2020.
The Meeting brings together the eight members of SPREP’s Executive Board. This includes the Troika of past, present and future chairpersons of the SPREP Meeting, and representatives of Melanesia, Metropolitan, Micronesia, Polynesia, and French speaking Member countries of SPREP.
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.
For more information please contact Ms Audrey Brown-Pereira, SPREP Executive Officer, at [email protected].