19 May 2023, Kuching, Malaysia – The history and success of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in promoting and supporting environmental assessments and planning in the Pacific during the past three decades has been shared and showcased at the 42nd Annual Conference of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) in Kuching, Malaysia.
During the conference held from 8 to 12 May 2023, SPREP Director for Environmental Monitoring and Governance, Mr Jope Davetanivalu presented a paper on "Strengthening Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA) in the Pacific." The session explored the critical need for better integration of environmental assessments and planning into policy and decision-making processes. The presentation highlighted the challenges faced by Pacific Island Countries, including the critical need for environmental assessments and planning to be better integrated into policy and decision-making in the region. Notably, it delved into the development of the SPREP SEA guidelines and emphasised the importance of enhancing national capacity through knowledge sharing and international collaboration.
In addition to the conference paper, SPREP also showcased a poster on the newly developed "Good Practice Guidelines in EIA for Coastal Engineering in the Pacific." The poster highlighted the critical importance of effective EIA practices in managing the impacts of coastal development projects in the Pacific region. The participants commended the comprehensive guidelines, which emphasised the integration of traditional knowledge, community engagement, and sustainable practices into the EIA process.
SPREP’s presentations were well-received by attendees at the conference, with many expressing interests in the unique challenges facing the Pacific region and the importance of sharing knowledge and expertise to address these challenges.
"We are thrilled with the positive response to our paper and poster presentations at the IAIA conference," said Director, Mr Davetanivalu. "The engagement and discussions that took place during the conference have been invaluable in enhancing our collective understanding and strengthening environmental and social assessments in the Pacific."
Mr Ivan Diarra, Technical Officer for the Pacific Network for Environmental Assessment (PNEA), added: "There appears to be great interest on the Pacific and current initiatives around environmental management in the region.
"The positive feedback we received at the conference underscores the evident need for practical guidance in environmental assessments, and we take pride in sharing our experiences, particularly SPREP’s newly developed coastal engineering guidelines with the broader environmental assessment community."
SPREP's active participation in the IAIA23 conference signifies its unwavering commitment to building national capacity for environmental assessments and planning in the Pacific.
The organisation will continue to closely collaborate with its member countries and international partners to ensure that environmental assessments and management become integral components of policy and decision-making processes throughout the Pacific region.
SPREP 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