CANADIAN AID HEAD DISCUSSES PACIFIC ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECTS

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SOUTH PACIFIC REGIONAL ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME (SPREP) Apia, Samoa

PRESS RELEASE March 1, 1999

Keeping coral reefs healthy and reducing the amount of pollution in the ocean will be discussed today when the South Pacific program manager of Canada's aid agency, Mr. Larry Bennett, visits the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

SPREP's director, Mr. Tamari'i Tutangata, said although Canada was not a member of SPREP, it still contributed significant amounts towards preserving and improving the Pacific environment.

"Through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Canada funds a broad range of environmental projects in the Pacific, including, in SPREP's case, projects that aim to help communities monitor the health of their coral reefs, and that address the growing problem of marine pollution," Mr. Tutangata said.

"This is Mr. Bennett's first visit to SPREP, so we will also be briefing him on the range of activities which we carry out on behalf of our member countries."

Last year, Mr. Bennett's agency funded ongoing work on coral reefs in the Pacific, including workshops to train communities in setting up ecotourism schemes as an alternative way of getting income from their reefs without depleting or destroying them. CIDA funding, under the Canada-South Pacific Ocean Development Program (C-SPOD II), also helped with the establishment or strengthening of coastal advisory groups in Vanuatu, Kosrae and Tuvalu, to develop integrated coastal management principles and practices.

SPREP's marine pollution programme, PACPOL, has also received funding assistance from CIDA, through C-SPOD II.

This program focuses on working with governments, private industry and non-governmental organizations throughout the Pacific to develop a regional strategy for dealing with marine oil spills. PACPOL also works with a variety of partners to reduce other forms of marine pollution, including the ongoing problem of ships' waste.

"Canada has been a good friend to the Pacific, and we are glad to be able to welcome Mr. Bennett to Samoa, and to SPREP," Mr. Tutangata said.

For additional information Jan Sinclair or Fatu Tauafiafi SPREP TEL: (685) 21 929 FAX: (685) 20-231

E-Mail: sprep@sprep.org.ws Web: http://www.sprep.org.ws

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