SPREP Welcomes $10.5 Million Agreement With AusAID

Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

News Release

Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme Suva, Fiji

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) today renewed their close partnership with the signing of a multi-year agreement to support Pacific Island countries in their efforts to manage their environment and ensure sustainable development.

AusAID Regional Counselor Solstice Middleby signing the multi-year funding agreement with SPREP’s Director General David Sheppard

The multi-year funding arrangement will enable Pacific island countries and the Secretariat to significantly increase delivery on longer-term environment programs to benefit the countries of the Pacific region. This will play a critical role in the sustainable development in the Pacific.

AusAID Acting Minister Counselor Ms. Solstice Middleby, and SPREP Director General Mr. David Sheppard, signed a new multi-year AU$10.5 million [US$10.7 million] agreement that continues Australia’s partnership with SPREP.

Ms. Middleby stated: "Australia’s partnership with SPREP is central to our support for Pacific island countries’ efforts across a range of environmental issues."

"We look forward to continuing our close relationship with SPREP over the next three years."

Australia is a founding member and development partner of SPREP, and provides core budget and program funding in recognition of SPREP’s role in supporting Pacific countries to manage their natural environment. Addressing environmental pressures is fundamental to reducing poverty. In many developing countries, the natural environment is the foundation of people’s wellbeing and livelihoods, particularly the poor in rural areas.

"To date, SPREP has relied on year-to-year funding, which has meant that we often could only plan for 12-month periods. Real and lasting environment change requires far longer time frames," said Mr. Sheppard.

SPREP provides national-level technical advice, program support, capacity building and coordinated regional responses to global environment issues and agreements. The Australian multi-year funding will better enable SPREP to assist countries with this long term challenge.

David Sheppard notes: "SPREP welcomes this commitment of the Australian Government to continue this collaboration and partnership in the environment sector. To achieve the outcomes of SPREP’s Strategic Plan (2011-2015), both members and the Secretariat must commit to working together. We applaud the commitment of the Australian government as a member and donor of SPREP in assisting us ensure we achieve these outcomes.

The signing of the agreement took place at the Australian High Commission, Suva, Fiji.

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