News - Apr 21, 2021 SPREP and EU Helping the Pacific to Address Waste Related Issues

Representatives from fifteen (15) Pacific islands gathered in Nadi in the framework of the Pacific- European Union Waste Management Programme (PacWaste) to discuss how to reduce the production of and improve the management of, hazardous wastes, solid wastes, and waterways impacted by solid waste in the Pacific, including Fiji. The meetings were held from Monday 27 to Wednesday 29 May, 2019.

Pacific island countries face significant risks to their environment and human health as a result of poor waste and pollution management. Many countries in the region lack the appropriate infrastructure, legislation, and personnel needed to adequately manage waste and pollution.  Continued poor management of wastes is likely to start negatively impacting tourism, fisheries, and agricultural industries.

To respond to these challenges, in February this year the European Union signed a EUR 16.5 Pacific – European Union Waste Management Programme (PacWaste Plus) with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

In his opening remarks, the Team Leader of Climate Change, Energy, and Circular Economy of the Delegation of the EU for the Pacific, Mr Adrian Nicolae said that “despite many recent achievements, more is needed for our Pacific island countries to deliver the vision of the Cleaner Pacific 2025 strategy. Based on the lessons learned from the previous Pacwaste project, which focused on hazardous waste and finished in 2017, PacWaste Plus is a much more ambitious and comprehensive project. It takes a broader approach, looking across eight different waste streams at data availability, legal framework, and capacity building to deliver good waste management practices across the Pacific Island Countries.”

The EU-funded PacWaste Plus Programme will work to support Cook Islands, Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Fiji, Republic of Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu on building the capacity of Pacific islands to manage their waste issues in an environmentally sound manner. It will also work to assist countries to improve data collection to inform decision making; strengthen legislative and policy frameworks; incentivise public and private partnerships in the waste sector; and build the capacity of governments, industry, and the community to reduce waste generation, and effectively manage wastes that are generated.

“SPREP and its members have long held the vision that the Pacific should be a region where human health and the environment are not threatened by waste, and in particular hazardous and toxic waste and chemicals,” said Dr Vicki Hall, Director of Waste Management and Pollution Control Programme at SPREP during her opening remarks. “PacWaste Plus, in partnership with other regional waste management and pollution control programmes operating throughout the region, is one project that will help this vision be realised, and we’re grateful for the continued support from the EU.”

The PacWastePlus Programme builds on the work already undertaken by the EU funded PacWaste Programme, which was implemented by SPREP and it supports the delivery of actions outlined in the Pacific Regional Waste and Pollution Management Strategy 2016-2025 (Cleaner Pacific 2025).The programme, once successfully implemented, will generate improved economic, social, health, and environmental benefits for Pacific island countries and their communities.

The PacWastePlus Inception Meeting is designed to empower the participating countries to actively engage in the project’s design, and confirm each Countries priorities for action to be undertaken on-ground to assist them to strengthen their waste management policies, legislation, and practices.