16 December 2022, Montreal Canada - The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), as the mandated inter-governmental organisation of the Pacific island countries to protect the Pacific environment, has further amplified our one Pacific voice at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) in Montreal Canada.
As well as providing support to all the Pacific delegations, and working with the Chair of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) to coordinate our One Pacific Voice, SPREP’s Director General, Mr Sefanaia Nawadra, took the floor during the High Level Segment to reaffirm the Pacific’s call for a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) that is effective, coherent and one that reflects the needs of Pacific island nations.
The Director General is leading the SPREP team at COP15.
“SPREP continues to work according to the mandate given to us by our 26 member states, including 21 Pacific Small Island Developing States, 14 of whom are State Parties to the CBD. That mandate is to promote cooperation in the Pacific region and provide assistance in order to protect and improve its environment and to ensure sustainable development for present and future generations,” Mr Nawadra said.
“We are pleased to be here in Montreal and like our Pacific delegates, we are all hoping to end these negotiations with a GBF to halt global biodiversity loss and most importantly conserve our Pacific region’s unique biodiversity.
“We have assisted our member countries to prepare for COP15 and they have come with four regional priorities. They want to adopt an effective and coherent Global Biodiversity Framework. They want recognition that the Pacific islands region faces unique biodiversity conservation and management issues due to geographic isolation, limited land areas, and vast ocean spaces.
“Our Pacific member countries need investments in capacity to manage and monitor biodiversity especially the human actions impacting island biodiversity. Lastly, we believe healthy ocean biodiversity should be a global priority.”
SPREP is committed to help its Pacific member countries to implement the Global Biodiversity Framework, in connection to relevant existing global and regional frameworks.
“The 2050 Strategy for a Blue Pacific Continent approved by our leaders in July this year as the framework for sustainable development within our region up to 2050, through the thematic pillars of climate change, ocean and environment,” Mr Nawadra said.
“The Framework for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas in the Pacific Islands Region 2021-2025 is our regional strategy for biodiversity conservation in the Pacific. This was endorsed by almost 2,000 participants at our 10th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas in 2020, and approved by 26 members SPREP governing council at their 2021 meeting. We have integrated what we anticipated would be in the GBF and will revise to fully integrate.”
SPREP will also utilise the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation (PIRT) as a coordinating body. PIRT is a coalition of nature conservation and development organisations, inter-governmental organisations, and donor agencies created to increase effective conservation action in the Pacific islands region in 1998.
“We will continue to build the capacity and assist our members with implementation as well as work with our donors and Member States to develop and implement effective projects and programmes to action the Global Biodiversity Framework,” Mr Nawadra said.
SPREP is the regional organisation established by the Governments and Administrations of the Pacific charged with protecting and managing the environment and natural resources of the Pacific. The Headquarters is based in Apia, Samoa with other SPREP offices in Fiji, the Republic of the Marshalls Islands and Vanuatu.
The establishment of SPREP in 1993 was a clear signal to the global community of the deep commitment of Pacific island Governments and Administrations for better management of the environment within the context of sustainable development. The strategic direction for SPREP is clearly set out in the 2017-2026 SPREP Strategic Plan, which outlines its mandate, vision and programmes.
“I wish to thank our members especially Australia, France and New Zealand for their extra-budgetary, project and technical support and those that partner and fund our work in biodiversity conservation including the Global Environment Facility, European Union, UNEP, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Kiwa Initiative,” said Mr Nawadra.
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 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.