Pacific island leaders today witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by the Chief Executive Officers of two key intergovernmental technical agencies. The MOU will strengthen commitment to collaboration and partnership for sustainable development in the Pacific Island region.

Dr Jimmie Rodgers, Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and Mr David Sheppard, Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), signed the MOU during the meeting of Smaller Island States Leaders, held in conjunction with the 42nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders' Meeting in Auckland this week.

Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, welcomed the signing of the agreement, noting that it is encouraging to see formal institutional arrangements being put in place to guide the relationship between the two organisations.

Under the MOU, the two organisations will maximise cooperation and reduce potential duplication in delivering services to their member countries and territories within their respective mandates.

The MOU addresses mechanisms for consultations at CEO level and also at technical and programme staff levels, participation in each other's governing body meetings and operational arrangements.

'Importantly, the MOU is designed to not be 'people dependent',' said Dr Rogers. 'It is an institutional partnership that will extend beyond the respective tenures of the current CEOs and will guide the future working relationship between our two organisations.'

'The MOU will enable both SPREP and SPC to together deliver more effectively on addressing the issues affecting our region in a long-term sustainable manner,' said Mr Sheppard. 'SPREP views this agreement as an opportunity to further mainstream environmental considerations in sustainable development planning for the region.'

The agreement comes into effect immediately and will remain in force for a period of four years. It will be renewable by mutual consent at the end of the four years and will be subject to a review after 2 years.