16 December 2022, Montreal Canada - The longstanding partnership between the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been further consolidated with the renewal of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two organisations.
The signing ceremony between SPREP’s Director General, Mr Sefanaia Nawadra and UNEP’s Executive Director, Ms Inger Andersen, took place on the margins of the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) in Montreal Canada. It builds on past collaboration forged through MOUs signed in 2005, 2012, and 2017.
The new MOU allows the organisations to work to achieve shared goals and objectives with regard to the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss and pollution and waste, including biological diversity in support of environmental protection, climate change adaptation and mitigation and the sustainable development of Pacific communities.
SPREP is the mandated inter-governmental organisation of the Pacific island countries to protect the Pacific environment and Director General Mr Nawadra said: “We are extremely grateful on behalf of our Pacific members to be able to continue this most important partnership with UNEP.
“Next year SPREP will celebrate our 30th anniversary but our history really started ten years before that as a programme of UNEP, as a coral reef monitoring programme. The Noumea Convention came out of that and we are the Secretariat for the Noumea Convention. So in a way, we see ourselves as an extension of UNEP, and UNEP also sees us as an extension of yourselves, in terms of the work that we do and the relationships we share and value.
“Ultimately the partnerships SPREP pursues and forges are strategic with the goal being to ensure that at the end of the day, the Pacific people we exist to serve benefit as a result. The relationship with UNEP is one such partnership, of which we are very grateful.”
UNEP’s Executive Director, Ms Inger Anderson, said renewing the partnership with SPREP at COP15 has special significance.
“We know that the Pacific islands are obviously amongst the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and you have the moral clarity to speak on this issue, beyond what anyone else has and that moral clarity is what we want to support because the work that you do is so critical,” Ms Andersen said. “So we at UNEP have heard the voice of the Pacific islands communities, we stand with you and we remain deeply committed to supporting Pacific island countries through the UNEP and SPREP collaboration, whether it is capacity building, multilateral environment agreements or whether it is on building international frameworks.”
Ms Andersen added: “It is a privilege for us here at UNEP to cement this long-standing partnership that we have with SPREP. We have no doubt that the work SPREP does in the Pacific region in terms of addressing all the environmental challenges is well recognised. We are glad to be working with an organisation that serves your Pacific member states, serves the environment and ultimately the people of the Pacific communities.”
The MOU will also contribute to the implementation of the UNEP Medium Term Strategy 2022 – 2025 and the Programme of Work 2022-2023-2025 as well as the Pacific United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) 2023-2027.
The Fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) is held in Montreal, Canada from 7 – 19 December 2022. Chaired by the Government of China, the CBD COP15 will result in a new Global Biodiversity Framework that will continue the 2020 Biodiversity Targets with the global goal of halting biodiversity loss.
Fourteen Pacific Islands countries are Party to the CBD. They are contributing to a unified One Pacific Voice on collective issues at COP15. The countries present in Montreal are the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Led by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), support to Pacific island countries has been implemented with technical input through the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation (PIRT), and includes a One Pacific approach involving support from the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner, and the Pacific Community at COP15 with financial assistance from the Government of Australia and the ACP MEA Phase 3 Project funded by the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States for the ACP countries.
For more information on the CBD COP15 please visit: https://www.cbd.int/conferences/2021-2022 or email [email protected]