|L - R David Sheppard SPREP, Achim Steiner UNEP|
16 October, CBD COP 11, Hyderabad, India - Ties between the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and the United Nations Environment Programme were rejuvenated today with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.
The 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity was the backdrop for the event which brought together Pacific island countries and territories to commemorate.
The also attended the event, meeting with the Executive Director of UNEP, Mr. Achim Steiner.
|L - R Hon. Tufuga Gafoa, Associate. Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Samoa, Achim Steiner UNEP|
“This is a stepping up of what we have always called a very special relationship. The Pacific region represents a very significant part of the planet and this relationship reaffirms and further develops our relationship between SPREP, the Pacific region and UNEP,” said Mr. Steiner.
“Small Island Developing States have in the United Nations, found one of the places where their voice is heard louder and clearer than in some of the other for a that we have for our geo-political meetings and I would like to commit our MoU that we have signed today, to strengthen that voice".
The last MoU signed between SPREP and UNEP took place in 2005, the new agreement is to cover the next five years. It will help ensure increased cooperation in mutual areas of work and expertise. Environment information will be exchanged and there will be an increased in capacity of Pacific islands to access and manage environment and climate change resources.
“We suffer major issues of isolation, biodiversity loss, major challenges and we must have good partners. Since coming to SPREP we have had a reform process, focused on delivery to members, improved our systems and built better partnerships. Partnerships are fundamental,” said Mr. Sheppard.
“We see UNEP as a partner of choice, this MoU is very important, and SPREP is committed to making this agreement in the future."
Present at the signing event today were delegates from the Cook Islands, FSM, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu with staff from SPREP and UNEP.