Message from the European Union

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The Pacific – European Union Waste Management Programme – PacWastePlus, funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) provides for a great partnership between the EU, SPREP and the 15 Pacific Island Countries to address issues related to sustainable waste management. PacWastePlus represents an investment of €16.5 M over 5 years for the European Union.

The “European Green Deal” is the top priority of the European Union. It is often reduced to climate change, with the commitment to “Zero Net Emissions” or “Carbon Neutrality” by 2050. However, the “European Green Deal” also reaffirms the commitment from the European Union to the development of a “Circular Economy”, with the adoption in 2020 of a new action plan to that effect. In the Pacific, this ambition translates into PacWastePlus.

While sustainable waste management is a responsibility of each individual country in the Pacific, it cannot be tackled at the country-level in isolation. To address its various aspects, sustainable waste management needs to be addressed through cooperation with other countries in the Pacific region. The PacWastePlus Programme addresses sustainable waste management at both national and regional levels. It provides a platform where Pacific countries can share their experiences and best practices to find common solutions and replicate successful initiatives.

The EU places great importance on the sustainable use of natural resources and resource efficiency. Our circular economy action plan is part of the “European Green Deal”, the cornerstone of the EU’s response for sustainable development. With the implementation of this action plan, the EU is on its path to move from a linear economy where we take the resources from their natural environment, use and dispose of them, to a model where resources are used as long as possible within the economy. In the circular economy, waste is not considered as a problem, but as part of the solution.

While the transition to a circular economy is important for the EU, it is equally necessary for the Pacific region, where resources are even scarcer, and management of waste, on sometimes very isolated islands, is a significant challenge. The EU is committed to assisting the Pacific countries to move towards sustainable waste management in line with circular economy principles.

The PacWastePlus programme supports the Pacific countries in developing the necessary policy mechanisms and actions in line with the “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” principles, which will contribute to a more circular economy in the Pacific. Through this programme, the countries are supported in developing financially sustainable solutions in waste management, through mechanisms such as container deposit schemes, advance disposal fees, as well as environmental taxes and levies. This assistance is accompanied by other components of the programme such as capacity building and small-scale country projects to address the concrete priorities on a country basis.

The PacWastePlus programme webpage is a great source of information for all the participating countries and other stakeholders interested in the work of this programme or, more in general, the topic of sustainable waste management in the Pacific. It provides a platform for a meaningful engagement at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted our personal contacts. I wish you a good reading and I hope this webpage will provide you with the information that you are looking for.