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General News

16 April 2024, Apia, Samoa – The Government of Australia and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) today held discussions on the existing partnership agreement between the two parties and ways in which the partnership can be further strengthened, during bilateral meetings held at the Pacific Climate Change Centre. 

The bilateral meeting was held ahead of the annual Trilateral Meeting between the Secretariat and the Governments of Australia and New Zealand, as contributors to SPREP’s core and programme funding, and as a long-term partners not only of SPREP, but of the Pacific. 

The Government of Australia is a Founding Member of the Secretariat and is also one of the largest funding support streams for the Secretariat. The current partnership between the Government of Australia and SPREP is a multi-year core funding arrangement of AUD 17.2 million which was signed in 2021, aimed at supporting the core organisational and programme management functions of the organisation to deliver regional priorities aligned to the SPREP Strategic Plan 2017-2026. 

The current ten-year partnership arrangement affirms a shared vision to promote cooperation in the Pacific region, aid in the protection of its environment, and to ensure sustainable development for present and future generations.

Within the broader partnership arrangements, the Government of Australia has also provided additional funding through projects such as the Pacific Ocean Litter Project, a seven year, AUD 16 million project aimed at reducing and removing the use and consumption of plastic pollution within Pacific island countries.

 The Government of Australia also provided funding, in partnership with the Government of New Zealand, for the Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion at the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change which was held in Dubai in December 2023. The funding enabled SPREP to provide a space that would amplify the Pacific Voice, and allow Pacific people who travelled across the globe to convene and tell their stories of resilience at the world’s biggest climate change conference. 

SPREP’s Director General, Mr. Sefanaia Nawadra, said, “Australia is one of our closest partners, and their support is crucial to the work that we do for our Pacific people, so this discussion was a good way to sit down with representatives from the Government and discuss high-level matters pertaining to that work and how it is being done.”

“It was also an opportunity for both parties to share their expectations of this partnership as we move forward into 2024 and how it can be further strengthened as we work collectively towards a more resilient Pacific environment,” he added. 

The Australian delegation consisted of Head of Delegation, Ms Suzi Heaton, Head of International Environment Branch of the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW); Ms Claire Chivell, Director of the Pacific Regional and Climate Change Branch of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Ms. Susan McErlain, Assistant Director of the Pacific and Regional Section, International Environment Branch, DCCEEW; Ms Kirstin Donaldson, Director, Pacific Pathways Section, International Net Zero Branch, DCCEEW, and Ms Sophie Taylor, Assistant Director, Pacific Pathways Section, International Net Zero Branch, DCCEEW.

“Australia has a long history of partnering with SPREP as the key intergovernmental organisation for environment in the Pacific. Today’s meetings are an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with SPREP, support the work they do, and to listen to and respond to Pacific priorities on climate change, biodiversity, pollution, and environmental governance matters,” Ms Heaton said. 

“We value SPREP’s breadth of knowledge and expertise, particularly as we collaborate to amplify the Pacific Voice in international climate and environment for a, and to deliver regional outcomes on our shared interests,” she added. 
Series of bilateral meetings were held with the SPREP Executive as well as SPREP’s four technical programmes – Climate Change, Environmental Monitoring and Governance, Island and Ocean Ecosystems, and Waste Management and Pollution Control and SPREP’s Governance and Operations Team discussing results, lessons and opportunities to strengthen the capacity of the Secretariat in addressing some of  the major challenges impacting the Pacific environment.

For more information, please contact SPREP Executive Officer, Ms. Audrey Brown-Pereira at [email protected]