DG Sefanaia Nawadra and Elizabeth Maruma Mrema.
December 14, 2022
Island and Ocean Ecosystems
General News

13 December 2022, Montreal Canada - The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) strengthened a key partnership in the conservation, protection, enhancement and support of nature and biological diversity, with the renewal of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United Nations Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The partnership renewal signing ceremony between SPREP’s Director General, Mr Sefanaia Nawadra and the Executive Secretary of the CBD, Ms Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, took place on the margins of the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) in Montreal Canada.  The MOU provides the framework to collaborate to further their common goals and objectives within their respective mandates and governing rules and regulations.

As the Head of the mandated inter-governmental organisation of the Pacific island countries to protect the Pacific environment, Mr Nawadra said: “SPREP looks forward to our continuing relationship and the joint implementation of activities and initiatives. SPREP celebrates its 30th anniversary next year and we know that continuing the work we do given the close ties and history of our relationship, gives us the firm foundation to our work.

“We look forward to the adoption of the Global Biodiversity Framework at this COP15. I acknowledge that it is still a work in progress but I am confident that with the help of our Pacific Ministers, delegates and our one Pacific voice, we should be able to have it approved. We look forward to playing our part in helping our member countries implement this so that members of our communities can benefit from the work we are doing here.”

The event was witnessed by Pacific delegates at COP15

The Executive Secretary of the CBD, Ms Elizabeth Maruma Mrema said the MOU provides a strengthened pathway forward and a clear guide for the work ahead.

 “SPREP is a strong partner for our activities in the Pacific region not just for the CBD but for many organisations dealing with environment issues. Our relationship is very close and it is unique,” said Ms Mrema.

“In other regions of the world, we have multiplicity of partners all dealing with environmental issues which brings its own challenges. However, in the Pacific we know we are dealing with one entity, and all other entities will converge through SPREP, and I think that creates the consistency, coherence and synergy in terms of supporting all the countries and communities in the Pacific region.

“As we move into the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework when it is adopted, our relationship will be further strengthened. We know that for island states, for many years, the focus has been on climate change issues and rightly so for reasons we all know. But over time, we have also realised that dealing with one issue without addressing the other, we might be creating more hazards on either side than the solutions we are providing.

“So the fact that we are making those connections, for example when we come up with solutions for climate change, we are also providing safeguards for biodiversity and conservation, and looking at the two as a package in an integrated manner, will help us in terms of identifying those common solutions.

“I am confident that SPREP is better placed to do that in terms of creating those synergies on actions needed and the collaboration needed between experts and communities at the national level.”

The partnership is important for supporting Parties within the Pacific region to implement the GBF and for monitoring and reporting on implementation, when it is endorsed.  The partnership also aligns the proposed GBF to the Pacific Islands Framework for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas, as well as reporting through the national State of Environment Reports and regional Pacific Islands State of Environment and Conservation Report.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by Pacific delegates who are in Montreal Canada to finalise a framework to reverse biodiversity loss before ecosystems hit critical tipping points.

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]