24 May 2023, Kuching Malaysia - The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) used the platform provided by the 42nd Annual Conference of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) in Kuching Malaysia, to strengthen its key partnerships in the field of environmental assessment and planning in the Pacific.
On the margins of the conference held from May 8th to 12th, the SPREP team, spearheaded by Mr Jope Davetanivalu, Director for the Environmental Monitoring and Governance (EMG) Programme, met with both longstanding and new partners to reflect on the past collaborative efforts and explore future opportunities.
SPREP and Pacific delegates met with the New Zealand Association for Impact Assessment (NZAIA. The meeting revolved around exploring future collaboration opportunities and fostering knowledge sharing and technical co-operation.
SPREP also met with Mr Lachlan Wilkinson, the Deputy Chair of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ), a new partner which recently established an MOU with SPREP in 2022. The meeting provided an excellent platform to discuss the practical implementation of the MOU and identify potential areas for cooperation and collaboration between the two organizations.
Part of the discussion focused on the EIANZ annual conference which will be hosted in Auckland New Zealand in October 2023. There was great interest in having Pacific delegates attend and participate in the EIANZ conference and both parties are excited to collaborate on having a Pacific theme to the conference.
SPREP and Pacific delegates were also engaged insignificant discussions with the newly appointed CEO of IAIA, Mr Gary Baker, on the prospect of establishing a partnership between SPREP and IAIA. The parties discussed the potential affiliation of SPREP and IAIA through the Pacific Network for Environmental Assessment (PNEA) to support and advance efforts on environmental assessments in the Pacific.
“There’s a much greater job we can do together and there are immediate pressure points,” said Mr Baker. “The EU has Invited IAIA to participate in a study on the high seas treaty which will gets into broader issues that will certainly affect some of the Pacific Island States. I am very keen to raise awareness and levels of co-operation with external bodies and SPREP fits very much within that context.”
Another highlight of the conference was the World Bank Day, which provided a valuable opportunity for SPREP and the Pacific Island delegates to engage with senior officials from the World Bank. These productive discussions centred around areas of mutual interest and potential cooperation on environmental and social sustainability in the Pacific.
SPREP’s Director of EMG Mr Davetanivalu welcomed the opportunity to strengthen collaboration with key partnerships.
"We are pleased to have engaged with our long established as well as new potential partners at the IAIA conference to explore opportunities for collaboration and cooperation," said Mr. Davetanivalu.. "These partnerships and collaboration are critical to achieving our collective goals towards sustainability and resilience in the Pacific."
The IAIA23 conference offered a diverse range of workshops, engaging discussions, and unparalleled networking opportunities for professionals and practitioners from around the world to share experiences and insights.
SPREP's engagement with partners at the IAIA conference underscores the organisation's commitment to building national capacity for environmental assessments and planning by facilitating knowledge sharing and collaboration at the international level.
SPREP and Pacific Island 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