Message from the SPREP Director-General




12 May 2022


  • Hon. Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment-Samoa
  • Mr Michal KREJZA, Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific;
  • Patrick DANIEL-RAMANANARIVO, Head of Section “Climate Change – Environment – Energy”, Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific;
  • Ms Andreja Vidal, Programme Manager, Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific;
  • Country delegates and invited guests:

Bula Vinaka to you all and I am glad to see our members are well represented and ready to actively participate in this important Steering Committee Meeting of the PacWastePlus programme, with the theme of “Implementation and Commitments”.

When I was working for Shell Pacific Islands as their Health, Safety and Environment Manager – we had a mantra within our operations group – “Make it Happen” – I hope that is the way we can operationalise our theme for this steering committee and the work of PacWastePlus.

Sound waste and pollution management is an urgent priority for our Pacific Island leaders – ours here at SPREP is just to “Make it Happen.”

These waste and pollution challenges are impacting our human, socio-economic and environmental health. We have agreed on the Cleaner Pacific Framework 2025 as the way we will address waste and pollution in the Pacific region. We commit to continue working with our members and partners, toward sustainable and cost-effective solutions to our Pacific waste management challenges.

Our Waste Management and Pollution Control programme together with our partners now has a portfolio of projects that are helping “make things happen” for our members contributing to the improvement of sustainable waste management and pollution control in the region.

These projects include the PacWastePlus programme, Committing to Sustainable Waste Actions in the Pacific (SWAP) project, JPRISM II, the Pacific Ocean Litter Project (POLP, GEF ISLANDS project, PACPLAN project, and the WWII Wreck Chuuk, FSM project and it is essential that the synergy these projects share be of benefit to our members as we all work in partnership to implement project actions. We are also strengthening the Secretariat and our implementation of the Noumea Convention which commits us to address the threats to our marine environment including waste and pollution.

Last week we had our Pacific Scoping Workshop for the UN Oceans Conference in Lisbon at the end of June 2022. Marine pollution and litter are a big part of this building on to the major stride we took at UNEA 5.2 by agreeing we will negotiate a binding global legal instrument to end plastic pollution by 2024.

Our Leaders instructed us to develop the Pacific’s 2050 Strategy to formalise our vision and directions for the Blue Pacific Narrative and to review our regional architecture.

It will be tabled in front of our leaders in June – it has 6 thematic pillars – one of them being Ocean and Environment – a major focus being waste and pollution. SPREP will lead or be a major contributor to the implementation of activities under this pillar.

We now have a common plan and understanding of the challenges we face. We must overcome these challenges together to enhance sustainable and cost-effective waste management in our region, now more than ever before as the programme moves into implementing country and regional commitments into action. In other words, we need to “Make it Happen.”

SPREP is thankful to the European Union for its continued support to build our collective capacity in the Pacific to address waste and pollution challenges. The PacWastePlus programme provides an opportunity for countries to leverage work from regional projects that helps enhance national actions and innovate effective waste management interventions.

One of these innovations is the circular economy building on sustainable consumption and production to significantly reduce emissions from landfills and efficiently manage waste and wastewater. Turning waste into a resource and making is the key mindset or outlook change to making the circular economy happen.

We must move from a linear production and consumption system of “take, make and dispose of” to a holistic, cyclical process. The PacWastePlus programme provides this support by strengthening regional cooperation.

I am glad to see that Pacific success is turning the discussion into action, and prioritising legislative tools such as the Container Deposit or Advance Recovery Fee and Deposit systems to enable long-term change towards a more sustainable future is now a reality with the PacWastePlus programme initiatives.

Public-private partnerships are a key component of the solution to our challenges that we are just starting to explore to pave the way for their becoming the norm rather than the exception.

One of the foci for PacWastePlus is to build knowledge and share lessons and experiences. Many publications and tools provide you all with innovative resources to assist you to deliver quality waste and pollution solutions for your communities.

The PacWastePlus programme is designed to support and strengthen regional cooperation, where countries share experiences and build on a community of practice in the sector and that opportunity presents itself at this very meeting.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the programme has continued to engage meaningfully with countries on project design and additionally, by assisting countries in improving data collection and sharing, assessing the legal frameworks and waste policies, enhancing private sector engagement, infrastructure development planning and capacity of countries to deliver sound environmental waste management practices across the Pacific.

We are grateful for the support and cooperation received from our member countries as we work together through our PacWastePlus programme, in identifying and implementing effective solutions to deliver against a global mandate and make this region and our planet more sustainable, safe, and inclusive.

I encourage continued cooperation between country focal points and the PacWastePlus programme management unit.

To improve waste management systems and services in the Pacific region, we not only need to act now, but we also need to move on this together to deliver on agreed project commitments!

In other words – Please join me and our PacWastePlus Community to “Make it Happen.”

Vinaka vakalevu