Press Release - Ten representatives from Member countries and territories of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) met in Tumon Bay, Guam, on 17-18 May, to discuss Pacific environmental priorities for the next five years.

Delegates from Guam, the Marshall Islands, Palau and the Micronesian Challenge joined senior SPREP staff to review progress to date on conservation and sustainable development, and to look to the future.

The consultative meeting was part of a series of exercises to gather information and ensure that SPREP's next Strategic Plan will set a valid and ambitious blueprint for its work with member countries and territories from 2011 to 2015.

SPREP aims to work with all its member countries to preserve healthy island environments that can sustain their peoples. The Pacific region is vast, and while some of the challenges are specific to individual circumstances, others are shared.

The participants identified the most pressing emerging environmental concerns and opportunities facing their islands and the Pacific region. They highlighted a number of shared priorities, including the impacts of the growing military presence, pressure on islands' water supplies and solid waste management facilities, a lack of environmental monitoring, the spread of invasive species and the multiple impacts of climate change.

SPREP's next Strategic Plan, to be developed in light of these challenges and the priorities other SPREP Members identify, will be presented to the annual SPREP Meeting in September.

The next consultative meeting, for all other SPREP members and territories, will be held in Nadi, Fiji on 24-25 May.