Monday, 12 September 2011 8:37 AM

Pacific Environment at the Heart of Four Day Discussions

The very first Pacific Environment Forum hosted by the Secretariat of the Pacific Environment Programme (SPREP) will take place on Monday.

The one day forum, open to the public, is bringing together Pacific environment workers in an informal setting to discuss environment issues of importance to our region.

The theme for this meeting is Rio +20 and Beyond: Building resilience for a sustainable future, it will help the Pacific further prepare for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (or Rio+20) which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2012.

The three key themes that will be the focus of panel presentations and discussions are:

. Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication;
. Environmental governance which is a broad topic that includes institutional frameworks for sustainable development and;
. Adapting to climate change which continues to be one of the top priority issues for the Pacific.

"Our SPREP member countries have asked for a forum where they could engage in substantive discussions on environment issues, outside of the official SPREP Meeting where we tend to focus on the work of the Secretariat." said Mr. Kosi Latu, the Acting Director of SPREP.

"The Pacific Environment Forum will be our platform to hear from different perspectives and talk further about environmental concerns impacting our region."

A key figure at the inaugural Pacific Environment Forum is Mr Bakary Kante, the Director of the Division for Environmental Law and Conventions from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). He is scheduled to make a presentation along with Pacific islanders which include; Mr. Vaitoti Tupa of the Cook Islands to talk on the implications of the green/blue economy on small island developing states from a Cook Island perspective; Ms. Brianna Fruean, a 13 year old environment advocate from Samoa will be presenting on empowering young people to be leaders in environmental management from a youth perspective and; Mr. Farran Redfern will talk present on Kiribati's experience on building community resilience to the impacts of climate change.

"Based on the discussions and input from the forum, an outcome statement will be produced outlining key messages on priority issues for the Rio+20 conference in 2012. The same outcome statement will be tabled at the 22 SPREP Meeting which starts on Tuesday."

The forum will be held at the Tanoa Tusitala in Apia, Samoa, it is open to all who would like to attend and will start at 9.00 am on Monday morning. The 22nd Annual SPREP Meeting will also be held in Samoa at the Tanoa Tusitala, it follows on from the Pacific Environment Forum from 13 - 15 September, 2011.

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