Press Release - The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) has a new road map which comes into effect next year. During the 21st Meeting of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme the "SPREP Strategic Plan 2011 - 2015" was adopted by environment ministers and SPREP Members.

From 2011 to 2015 SPREP will continue, as mandated by its founding treaty, 'to promote co-operation in the Pacific region and provide assistance in order to protect and improve its environment and to ensure sustainable development for present and future generations'. The new road map will re-focus the work of the Secretariat on four key areas: Climate change, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management, Waste Management and Pollution Control, and Environmental Monitoring and Governance. This will see SPREP increase its support to member countries and territories through practical assistance tailored to their agreed priorities.

"There is an increased focus on, in particular, waste management, and on climate change, as well as on environmental monitoring for which we have had limited attention to date. We'll also have a greater focus on in country delivery and a higher profile for SPREP," said Mr. David Sheppard the Director of SPREP.

The Strategic Plan was developed after six months of wide consultation which included surveys and sub regional meetings open to the participation of all 25 SPREP member countries and territories. It was during these consultations that the vision for the future work of SPREP was designed. From 2011 - 2015 the Secretariat will be working towards achieving the vision - 'The Pacific environment, sustaining our livelihoods and natural heritage in harmony with our cultures'.

"For me, coming to SPREP after the Independent Corporate Review was completed which raised key organizational issues; I thought that SPREP was in for major changes. But the result from the consultation was that we are basically heading in the right direction, we just need fine tuning so the Strategic Plan is more of a course realignment and focusing rather than changing the direction of the ship."

Now that the SPREP Strategic Plan 2011 - 2015 is adopted, over the coming six months SPREP will reorient its structure and work programme to deliver on the four key areas, to strengthen delivery of practical services to members, better emphasis on partnerships, science and knowledge.

"The SPREP budget has increased from US$7.4 million in 2008 to $11.5 million in 2011. I think donors are more likely to invest in SPREP if we have a programme that is very much based on country needs and also they are more likely to invest in SPREP if they have confidence in the organisation," said Mr. Sheppard.

"I think that what we have seen in 2010 is an increased confidence in SPREP and I hope that with the development and adoption of this Strategic Plan that donors and partners will be very happy to invest and support and work with SPREP in the years ahead".

The SPREP Strategic Plan 2011 - 2015 will be published before the end of this year and come into effect on 1 January 2011.