8 September 2023, Apia – The Paicific Island Environment Ministers gathered in Apia for the High-Level Ministerial Talanoa, along with the officials of the 31st Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) Meeting, celebrated the 30th anniversary of SPREP during an event hosted by the Pacific Regional Invasive Species Management Support Service yesterday evening. 

The celebration included the cutting of the SPREP 30th birthday cake by Director General, Mr Sefanaia Nawadra, and the New Zealand High Commissioner to Samoa, His Excellency Dr. Trevor Matheson. 

SPREP’s Members and partners had conveyed their congratulations to the Secretariat on 30 years of service to the region, and the work it has done in achieving a resilient Pacific environment that sustains our livelihoods and natural heritage in harmony with our cultures. 

Mr Sefanaia Nawadra talked about the beginnings of SPREP during the 30th SPREP Meeting of Officials held during the week, and how it started as a programme within the Pacific Community (SPC) in Noumea, New Caledonia.

“With the support of the United Nations Environment Programme and the Pacific Island Forum, SPREP was able to move to Apia, Samoa, and become its own standalone organisation after the signing of the SPREP Treaty in 1993,” said Mr Nawadra. 

The rationale behind the move to Apia, according to Mr Nawadra, was to stand in solidarity with the people of Samoa, who had been hit by two strong cyclones in consecutive years – Cyclone Ofa and Cyclone Val. 

“We have since grown into a thriving organisation, with almost 150 staff, and with offices in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Vanuatu. This is a testament to the great leadership of my predecessors, previous SPREP Director Generals who came before me, who had paved the way for this organisation and seen it grow from strength to strength over the years,” he added. 

Mr Nawadra reaffirmed the Secretariat’s commitment to its Members; stating that SPREP will continue to advocate for Pacific peoples and the Pacific environment, for the next 30 years to come. 

The 31st SPREP Meeting of Officials and associated meetings are taking place at Taumeasina Island Resort in Samoa this week, from 4-8 September 2023. The meetings are guided by the theme: “SPREP@30th Sustainable, transformative and resilient for a Blue Pacific.”  

The 31st SPREP Meeting of Officials and associated meetings bring together SPREP's 21 Pacific Island Member countries, 5 Metropolitan Members and partners to discuss strategic issues pertaining to the organisation, and to approve the 2024-2025 work plan. The 21 Pacific Island Member countries and territories of SPREP are: American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna. The five Metropolitan members of SPREP are: Australia, France, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States of America. 

In our efforts to fulfil our vision of ‘a resilient Pacific environment, sustaining our livelihoods and natural heritage in harmony with our cultures’, SPREP is extremely grateful to our valued Members, development partners, donors, our CROP family, and stakeholders.  

For more information on the 31SM, please contact: [email protected]