NEWS:? 25th?Annual SPREP Meeting

 

  • Urgency and purpose on the agenda at Majuro Meeting
  • Adaptation stories from the northern Pacific highlighted in Majuro
  • Call for a regional approach to the management of oil from WWII wrecks

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Regular updates and photographs from the meeting are being tweeted through?@sprepchannel?and summarised on the SPREP Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/SPREP.PEIN?should you wish to download images to use for the below stories please visit:?https://www.dropbox.com/sh/csegz6d6o7oe3oq/AABQ_yWCF3-5_bgXXwEvkB6ga?dl=0?the below stories are loaded with correlating images on?www.sprep.org

 

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Urgency and purpose on the agenda at the Majuro Meeting

30 September 2014, Majuro, Republic of Marshall Islands?? Today marked the first formal day of proceedings at the 25th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme in the Republic of Marshall Islands. For many participants, the location of this year’s meeting – on the beautiful but vulnerable atoll of Majuro – has highlighted the urgency and importance of SPREP’s work over the coming 12 months.

At last night’s official opening, the 132 SPREP Meeting delegates, representing 25 countries and territories, were welcomed by local officials including Majuro Councilman Sonny Milne and Acting President The Hon. Wilbur Heine.

In his statement at the opening, The Hon. Minister Heine welcomed all SPREP Meeting delegates to Majuro and wished them well in their pursuit of positive environmental outcomes for Pacific island countries and territories.

In their speeches, both The Hon. Minister and SPREP Director General Mr David Sheppard made reference to Marshallese poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner – whose rendition of the poem ‘Dear Matafele Peinam’ was met with a standing ovation at the recent Special Climate Change Summit in New York. Mr Sheppard remarked:

“Kathy’s powerful poem underlined the urgency of the challenges facing Pacific island countries and territories ? and the urgent need for concerted international action, including at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Convention Meeting ? the outcomes of which will be vital for our region. We must all work collectively, with a sense of urgency and purpose, to address these challenges and support all island countries to become more resilient.”

Over the course of the three day meeting, SPREP Members and other official delegates will review the Secretariat’s activities over the past year and approve a work plan and budget for 2015 that aligns with their collective vision of a sustainable Pacific environment.

Highlights of today’s proceedings included the commendation and endorsement of the 2013 SPREP Annual Report and for the Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Report, presented by Dr Netatua Pelesikoti, SPREP’s Director of Climate Change.

The Annual Meeting will be followed by a High Level Ministerial Segment?on Friday?at which the three key issues of climate change financing, ocean conservation and management, and follow-up from the third United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States will be discussed.

Regular updates and photographs from the meeting are being tweeted through?@sprepchannel?and summarised on the SPREP Facebook page.

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Adaptation stories from the northern Pacific highlighted in Majuro

30 September 2014, Majuro, Republic of Marshall Islands?- Delegates to the 25th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme today had the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of success stories and lessons learned arising from the world class Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) programme.

The PACC programme has been one of the first major climate change adaptation initiatives in the Pacific region. Since it began in 2009 the programme has been demonstrating best-practice adaptation in three key climate-sensitive areas: coastal zone management, food security and food production, and water resources management.

With the programme slated to wrap up in the first quarter of 2015, an emphasis for the next six months (aside from evaluation activities) will be on collecting and disseminating the vast array of insights, results and impacts deriving from more than five years of intervention.

While PACC has operated in 14 different Pacific islands, the focus of today’s event was on the unique experiences of northern Pacific countries.

PACC Coordinators Joseph Cain and Abraham Simpson presented on the PACC interventions in Marshall Islands and RMI respectively, painting a comprehensive before and after picture of risks and opportunities.

For Mr Peniamina Leavai, SPREP’s Adaptation Planning Officer for PACC, the high level of audience interest and engagement indicated that today’s event was a great success. Mr Leavai explains:

“There is a real appreciation that PACC has the capacity to live on through the development of new programmes based on our lessons and best practices. That capacity to address climate change across different sectors – through incorporating risks and trying out resilience measures – was made clear.”

“And importantly, it was great to note that almost all of our knowledge management products were picked up by interested parties. It goes to show that exchange of information is valued and that PACC experiences are important in helping us to shape our future programmes and projects.”

By way of example, Mr Mosese Sivovou of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) commented at the event that the results, tools and frameworks from the PACC programme are being referred to and used by other resilience projects in the region. The lessons learned from PACC support the effectiveness and relevance of other programmes and ensure that efforts are not duplicated.?The PACC programme is funded by the Global Environment Facility and the Australian Government. The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is the regional implementing partner and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the executing agency.?For more information about PACC, please visit?www.sprep.org/pacc

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Call for a regional approach to the management of oil from WWII wrecks

29 September 2014, Majuro, Republic of Marshall Islands –?The need for an integrated regional approach to the management of World War II wrecks in the Pacific region was a hot topic of conversation at the Pacific Environment Forum in Majuro, Republic of Marshall Islands on Monday 29 September, 2014.

Mr Andrew Yatilman from the Office of Environment and Emergency Management (OEEM) in Federated States of Micronesia spoke to the Forum about the growing threat posed by hazardous leakage from World War II wrecks in the Federated States of Micronesia. Mr Yatilman explained that Chuuk Lagoon contains upwards of 60 sunken vessels dating back to World War II – at least six of which are currently leaking oil into the lagoon.

“We are seeking assistance from partners and donors so that we can conduct an assessment to determine the status, risk and cost associated with retrieving the oil from those wrecks that are causing, or have the potential to cause, the most harm.”

Mr Yatilman’s concerns were echoed by many participants who believe that a detailed assessment of oil leakage from high risk wrecks in the Pacific should be undertaken.

Mr David Sheppard, Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) supports the call from members for increased support.

“SPREP has provided significant technical support to members regarding the threat posed by oil leakage from World War II wrecks. In Federated States of Micronesia, for example, we have worked very closely with OEEM to map the potential impact of oil leakage from key unstable wrecks in Chuuk lagoon.”?Mr Sheppard explains that the urgency of acting on this issue is related to the fact that, 60 years on, many of these vessels are now starting to corrode.

“SPREP strongly supports the call for increased funding to properly address the issue of World War II wrecks across the Pacific region. It is essential that we act quickly on this issue to minimise the potential harm to environmental and human health.”

There are in excess 3,600 World War II wrecks registered globally, but the most vulnerable locations are those in the Pacific region with Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia and Marshall Islands identified as being areas of high risk for oil leakage from sunken vessels.?ENDS?