SEPTEMBER 2, 2019 BY ANGELICAS
Island and Ocean Ecosystems

The 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES CoP18) convened in Geneva, Switzerland following the cancellation of the meeting in May in Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the deadly blasts on Easter Sunday that killed over 300 people.

The CITES is the international instrument that regulates the international trade of wildlife species in which the main principle is to ensure trade is legal, traceable and sustainable. This year is a CITES record for the most Parties accredited and also the most from our region attending. From the Oceania region were delegations from Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Over the 2 weeks, the Parties will consider 107 agenda items and 57 species listing proposals which includes the shark proposals co-sponsored by the Governments of Fiji, Palau and Samoa.

The Pacific islands have led the way in bringing forward some of the marine species to be listed on CITES Appendices, which regulates species that are traded globally. Fiji, Palau and Samoa, have joined other governments to co-sponsor the listing of shark species (mako sharks, giant guitarfish and wedgefish) on Appendix II.

Three species of teatfish (Holothuria fuscogilva, H. nobilis and H. whitmaei) are also proposed to be listed on Appendix II and this is the first time that sea cucumbers are tabled at the meeting.

“Actions must be taken in our region, and internationally, to support clean, healthy, and productive oceans, the sustainable management, use and conservation of marine resources, and address the impacts that are causing the decline in shark populations” said Ms Maria Satoa, Principal Marine Conservation Officer, Samoa.

“As co-sponsors of the mako shark proposal, we have heard that the mako populations have declined in every major ocean and we urge the Parties to support their listings on Appendix II to ensure better conservation and management” she added.

All three shark proposals were accepted by vote to be listed on Appendix II.

The meeting also agreed by vote to list three species of teatfish (sea cucumbers) on Appendix II.

Tonga’s head of delegation, Poasi Ngaluafe said that “Teatfish are very important as the sale of sea cucumber are often the sole source of income for families. Listing will have a long-term impact to people in the Pacific. Implementation of CITES in Tonga will require capacity implementation assistance including in training, policy review, compliance, monitoring, NDFs and reporting”.

SPREP supported Tonga’s view welcoming the European Union’s offer of technical and financial support for the Pacific.

Wider issues from CoP18 include:

• Governments on August 22, 2019, rejected proposals by southern African countries to resume international sales of their ivory stockpiles.

• The proposal by Zambia to down list its elephants from Appendix I to Appendix II was rejected by 102 votes against, with 22 votes of support and 13 abstentions. Any legal market in ivory can be a cover for laundering of illegal ivory for example the last time ivory stockpiles had been allowed to be sold in 2008, poaching of elephants had skyrocketed across Africa.

• A proposal by Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe to sell theirs and South Africa’s stockpiled ivory also failed when put to the vote. It was rejected by 101 votes, with 23 in support and 18 abstentions.

• Also, on August 22, 2019, CoP18 passed a resolution to place the giraffe in Appendix II of CITES. The Appendix II listing was proposed by Central African Republic, Chad, Kenya, Mali, Niger and Senegal. It was passed by 106 votes in support, with 21 votes against and seven abstentions. This is a major step forward in efforts to protect this endangered species with its 9 subspecies.

• An earlier vote on limiting the protection to apply only to sub-species outside of Southern Africa failed to achieve the required number of votes to pass.

• Giraffes once ranged over much of the semi-arid savannah and savannah woodlands of Africa. But their numbers have plummeted dramatically — by up to 40 per cent over the last 30 years — due to threats including international trade in their parts, as well as habitat loss, civil unrest and illegal hunting

The 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was held in Geneva, Switzerland from 17-28 August at the Palexpo. Oceania countries participating include Australia, Fiji, Palau, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. The next CoP19 will be in three years time hosted by Costa Rica.

For more information on this meeting, or the CITES CoP18 in Geneva, please email Ms Karen Baird (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) or Juney Ward (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Source:https://www.sprep.org/news/oceania-pacific-at-18th-un-world-wildlife-conference

SEPTEMBER 6, 2019 BY LEANNEM

General News

6 September 2019, Apia, Samoa – Environment Ministers from around the Pacific region met today in Apia, Samoa at the conclusion of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment (SPREP)’s 29th Meeting of Officials, to identify key priorities in relation to some of the most pressing environmental issues faced by the region.

The Pacific Environment Ministers’ High-Level Talanoa brought together Ministers and High-Level representatives from SPREP’s 21 Pacific island Members and five metropolitan Members to participate in a dialogue with their peers on how to ensure a Resilient Blue Pacific. 

This year saw the participation of New Zealand and Australian environment Ministers for the first time, with Hon. Aupito William Sio, Minister of Pacific Peoples representing the Government of New Zealand, and Hon. Trevor Evans, Associate Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management representing the Government of Australia. 

The Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa, who is also the Minister for Natural Resources and Environment, Hon. Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, officially opened the meeting, recognising it as an opportunity for them, as Environment Ministers to exchange experiences and focus on much-needed action not only at the national and regional levels, but at the global level as well. 

A joint statement was released at the conclusion of the High-Level Talanoa, which sets out the outcomes on key priority areas of Climate Change, Ocean Governance and Management, and Marine Pollution and Seabed Mining. 
Climate change remains the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific, as reaffirmed in Tuvalu by Pacific Island Forum leaders. The Ministers and High-Level representatives recalled the Boe Declaration on Regional Security, as well as the urgency of global action on climate change, noting that the impacts of natural disasters, exacerbated by climate change, are threatening the social, economic, cultural and environmental well-being of the Pacific, and increasing the burden of risk on the Pacific’s security. 

The Ministers and High-Level representatives also commended the work of SPREP in supporting the Pacific in climate change matters and noted theneed for knowledge to be built and shared across the region on how to assess and mitigate threats associated with climate change.

The urgency of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report of 1.5°C was also highlighted, with the ministers calling for immediate action, and not just discussion of ambition, to implement Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement in order to achieve the Paris Agreement temperature goal. 

The Minsters reaffirmed that the Pacific region’s most important resource is the ocean and its marine resources and ecosystems, emphasising the importance of integrated ocean management and conservation was also emphasised, and leaders urged the Pacific to fully engage in the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). 

The impact of marine pollution on food security, human health, biodiversity, livelihoods and culture was also noted by the Ministers and High-Level representatives, who reaffirmed their support for SPREP’s mandate to work with Members to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastics and reduce overall marine pollution. 

They called for urgent action in the Pacific to support the Pacific Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter 2018-2025 and urged Members to accelerate policies and actions that embrace sustainable materials management, life cycle and circular economy, promote alternatives and drive sustainable practices, in order to reduce plastic pollution
Many Pacific islands have taken the initiative to address this issue by banning single-use plastics, and their efforts were acknowledged by the Ministers and High-Level representatives. 

A total of eight Pacific island countries and territories have implemented bans on a variety of single-use plastic items, with a further eight announcing their intent to do so. This is a testament of the Pacific region’s leadership in the fight against marine and plastic pollution. 

The collaborative efforts of the Government of Samoa,SPREP and partners, which brought about the first “Green” Pacific Games was congratulated by the Meeting, and Ministers acknowledged the commitment of Solomon Islands as the next host of the Pacific Games in 2023 to continue this valuable initiative, with the hopes of changing Pacific people’s behaviours and mindsets against the use of single-use plastics. 

Both the potential economic benefits and negative impacts of seabed mining to the ocean and its ecosystems were recognised, as was the importance of collaboration between the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP) Agencies in respect of the need to develop expertise within the region to provide scientific expert advice with respect to seabed mining, deep-sea ecology and oceanography. 

The Ministers and High-Level representatives expressed their gratitude and appreciation to the Government and people of Samoa for the warm and generous hospitality extended to them and their national delegations throughout the week. 

They also extended their appreciation to the Director General and staff of SPREP, and congratulated them on the successful organising of the 29th SPREP Meeting of Officials and associated meetings. 

The Twenty-ninth SPREP Meeting Environment Ministers’ High Level Talanoa was attended by Environment Ministers and High-Level representatives of American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, France, French Polynesia. Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tokelau, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, United States of America and Wallis and Futuna. 

The 29th SPREP Meeting of Officials is being held at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel in Apia, Samoa from 3 - 6 September.

The Meeting will bring together SPREP’s 21 Pacific island Members countries and five metropolitan Members to discuss strategic issues pertaining to the organisation, and to approve the 2020-2021 work plan. The Environment Ministers’ High-Level Talanoa will be held on Friday 6 September.

The 21 Pacific island member countries and territories of SPREP are: American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna.

The five metropolitan members of SPREP are: Australia, France, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States of America

SEPTEMBER 4, 2019 BY ANGELICAS

Waste Management and Pollution Control

4 September, 2019, Apia, Samoa – Unmanaged disaster waste can negatively impact the recovery efforts of countries affected by natural hazards. This was the key message expressed at a special side event held last night, where the draft Regional Disaster Waste Management Guidelines were presented to Pacific island delegates and officials at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)’s 29th Meeting of Officials which opened in Apia.

Pacific island countries have recorded overwhelming amounts of disaster waste generated during natural hazards, which experts say can be as much as ten times the average waste generated under routine conditions. The draft regional guidelines are based on past experiences and lessons learned from a number of past Disaster Waste Management pilot projects during JPRISM I (2011 – 2016) in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. In addition, two sub-regional consultations were conducted in Samoa (Oct 2018) and Palau (Feb 2019), which senior officials from Disaster Management Organizations attended to share their experiences in line with the usual Disaster Management Plans in Pacific Island Countries. This is important in aligning waste management principles and disaster management cycles, which form the basis of existing national waste and disaster management plans in Pacific islands.

Compiled by the Japanese Technical Cooperation Project for Promotion of Regional Initiative on Solid Waste Management in Pacific Island Countries Phase II (J-PRISM II) in collaboration with SPREP, the guidelines are a first for the Pacific region, and will help to inform National Disaster Management Offices (DMO) on measures to take before, during and after a disaster event.

The goal of the guidelines is to strengthen the capacity of Pacific islands by improving the skills and knowledge of local officials and staff in handling disaster waste when natural disasters strike. The guidelines provide guidance for Pacific islands to develop supporting National Preparedness and Response Plans specifically for Disaster Waste. Enhancing Pacific islands preparedness and response will make the islands more resilient to natural disasters generated waste.

The guidelines focus on the operational aspects on what to do before and after a natural disaster. One of the important arrangements highlighted is to make appropriate arrangements in-country with the local recyclers for the recovery of recyclable waste as well as existing road maintenance and rubbish collection contractors to assist with the rapid management of waste.

Delivering the opening remarks for the event, Mr Roger Cornforth, Deputy Director General of SPREP, touched on the importance of the collaborative effort needed to respond to challenges such as disaster waste management in the Pacific.

“Countries are not set up to deal with these huge amounts of wastes including disaster hazardous wastes such as asbestos, household chemicals and other toxic substances,” said Mr Cornforth.

“Getting the waste to facilities during disaster events can result in mixed solid and hazardous wastes being dumped and leading to contamination of the environment and providing breeding grounds for disease outbreaks. This is why partnerships such as that between JICA, through JPRISM II, and SPREP are critical in addressing the ability of Pacific island countries to become resilient to climate change.”

The side event was also an opportunity at the regional level to showcase and consult all SPREP Member Countries on the draft Regional Disaster Waste Management Guideline. Previously, two separate sub-regional consultation workshops were held in October, 2018 in Samoa, and earlier this year in February in Palau where representatives of 10 Pacific island countries were involved.

Presenting the draft guidelines at the SPREP Meeting is a final regional consultation and the last opportunity to gather comments and feedback from Pacific islands.

Mr Faafetai Sagapolutele, Assistant Chief Advisor, J-PRISM II, who presented the draft guidelines to participants of the special side event summarised the key components and mechanisms of the Regional Disaster Waste Management Guidelines.

“The main issues and concerns of disaster waste in Pacific islands relate to the delay of emergency lifesaving operations caused by inaccessible roads, health impacts of chemicals and hazardous wastes, environment impacts, and economic impacts as waste generated during natural hazards often surpass what would normally be produced and collected if there was no emergency situation.”

Mr Sagapolutele stressed how Pacific islands are at the forefront of climate change, and are highly exposed to tropical cyclones, prone to flooding in coastal and low-lying areas, and stated the impact of unmanaged disaster waste is a significant one for the region.

Expressing his gratitude to JICA and J-PRISM II for the guidelines and the collaborative work being done in the region to address the challenges and issues Pacific islands face with disaster waste, Mr Cornforth announced another partnership between SPREP, J-PRISM and the University of Newcastle.

“I am pleased to announce that in order to further improve this guideline, SPREP, JPRISM II and the University of Newcastle are collaborating in a pilot to implement the actions in the guideline in one of our member countries. The pilot will build the capacity of the pilot country and subsequently expand this capacity building throughout the region for training in handling of disaster waste management.”

“Please join me in thanking JICA, through the JPRISM II project, for collaborating with SPREP and supporting the region to deal with disaster waste.”

The guidelines will be launched in 2020 at the Clean Pacific Roundtable.

J-PRISM II is a five year multi-million-dollar project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in partnership with SPREP and commenced in 2017 following the success of the first phase of the project. The goal of the project is to assist in the sustainable management of solid waste in the Pacific region.

 

The 29th SPREP Meeting of Officials is being held at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel in Apia, Samoa from 3 - 6 September. The Meeting will bring together SPREP’s 21 Pacific island Members countries and five metropolitan Members to discuss strategic issues pertaining to the organisation, and to approve the 2020-2021 work plan. The Environment Ministers’ High-Level Talanoa will be held on Friday 6 September.

The 21 Pacific island member countries and territories of SPREP are: American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna.

The five metropolitan members of SPREP are: Australia, France, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

AUGUST 9, 2019 BY LEANNEM

Climate Change Resilience

8 August 2019, Apia, Samoa - According to Solomon Islands' Meteorological Service (SIMS) Director David Hiba, the SIMS faces infrastructure challenges and the ongoing risk of tsunamis hitting Solomon Islands.

Mr. Hiba said the SIMS had expanded its network of seismographic equipment and tsunami detection in recent years.  Further, work on tsunami inundation modelling for populated areas is to be done with Taiwan National University.

“In terms of the tsunamis, we are partnering with our national disaster office,” Mr. Hiba said.  “It looks like we have tsunamis every three years.”

Mr. Hiba presented a report on the status of the SIMS to the fifth meeting of the Pacific Metrological Council (PMC-5), on 7 August in Apia Samoa.  

According to Mr. Hiba, in the last few years the SIMS has also made significant progress in partnering with other Solomon Islands’ departments, installing seismographic equipment, and connecting with traditional knowledge systems about weather. 

Mr. Hiba reported that the SIMS has expanded the capacity of its research stations, its operations and observations capacity, the climate section for collecting and archiving climate data, public forecasts for tropical cyclones, strong winds and wave swell advisories.  

As part of its best practices SIMS has, according to Mr. Hiba, boosted its connection with other organisations across Solomon Islands in collecting and use of traditional weather observation data and techniques.   

“We are working with partners on incorporating traditional knowledge with modern early warning systems,” Mr. Hiba said.  “We (SIMS) are also partners with the local water Resources Division.  We are also partnered with the Ministry of Health.”

The Fifth Pacific Meteorological Council (PMC-5) from 6 – 9 August, 2019 follows a range of pre-PMC meetings which were held in Apia, Samoa from 29 July - 6 August, 2019. 

The PMC-5 is supported by a strong partnership between the following:  The Government of Samoa, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Government of Australia through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Government of Canada, Government of Korea, Climate Risk Early Warning Systems (CREWS), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), IMPACT Project, Varysian, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Climate and Oceans Support Programme in the Pacific (COSPPac), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

For more information please visit our website https://www.pacificmet.net/pmc/meetings/pmc-5 or email Salesa Nihmei This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Azarel Mariner-Maiai This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Subcategories

Call for Public Review-Environment(Amendment) Act 1998

The Environment and Conservation Division is currently reviewing the Environment (Amendment) Act 1998 .The division is now inviting submissions on the proposed amendments to the Environment Act 1998 as part of this public consultation. Comments on the draft amended legislation should be directed to the responsible officers within the department, using the email addresses , telephone and fax numbers provided as follows;  Rosemary Apa and Debra Kereseka-Potakana, Environment Unit, Environment and Conservation Division, Emails: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (Tel) +677 26036 and (fax) +677 28054.

You can access and view the document in the link provided as follows; files/docs/users/wbeti/160228_AmendmentstoEnvironmentAct_draft2.2(1).pdf

This call for public review submissions is open as of Friday 9th February 2018 and will close on Friday 30th March 2018.

Source: Environment & Conservation Division Communications