Biodiversity & Ecosystem Management Headlines

SPREP hands over GEF PAS Invasive and Alien Species Project to Government of Samoa

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) officially handed over the Samoan component of the Global Environment Facility Pacific Alliance for Sustainability (GEF-PAS) Regional Project for the prevention, control and management of invasive species in the Pacific islands to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) at a special ceremony held today at the Taumeasina Island Resort.

The handover ceremony was also an opportunity to present the achievements and market the findings of the projects to its key international, regional and community stakeholders.

The project has been completed over the past five years in Samoa and eight other Pacific island countries and has been the largest expenditure of resources for invasive species management in the Pacific. The Samoan component was led by SPREP in partnership with MNRE.

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SPREP Director General, Kosi Latu, speaking at the official handover ceremony. Photo: SPREP

Hon. Taefu Lemi Taefu, Associate Minister for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment thanked SPREP on behalf of the Government of Samoa and MNRE for their support throughout the five years of the project, and stressed the importance of the country coming together as a whole in the fight against invasive species, stating that "The environment is everyone's responsibility."

The Samoan component has included a wide diversity of outcomes to benefit the people of Samoa, including the forest restoration on Mount Vaea Reserve and O le Pupu Pu'e National Park, research on the myna bird, marine surveys for invasive seaweeds and crown of thorns starfish, as well as raising awareness in schools and at the village level throughout Samoa.

"I congratulate Samoa, particularly MNRE, on completing the project on time, to budget, and with successful outcomes which will be of great benefit to Samoa and its people. The SPREP Invasive Species programme and MNRE has formed a significant partnership, one which I am sure will continue into the future," said Mr Kosi Latu, Director General of SPREP.

"It is my pleasure to officially handover this project to Samoa following its successful completion. It is also timely to note that this project has set a solid foundation from which to manage invasive species in Samoa. SPREP will continue to support Samoa in this endeavour."

IMG 7912Associate Minister for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Hon. Taefu Lemi Taefu, cutting the ribbon to signify the official handover of the GEF-PAS IAS project. Photo: SPREP

According to Mr Latu, SPREP and the rest of the Pacific islands have also benefitted from Samoa's efforts, with the Samoa project having contributed several case studies to the SPREP Invasive Species Battler Series which aims to assist Pacific islanders with issues that others have addressed.

He also noted the substantial diversity of the activities that were undertaken within the project, from raising community awareness to enabling legislation to protect Samoa from future threats.

The five year project – 'Prevention, eradication and control of invasive alien species in the Pacific islands' is funded by the Global Environment Facility – Pacific Alliance for Sustainability (GEF-PAS), implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and is executed by SPREP in partnership with the Project countries – Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.

For more information on the GEF-PAS Invasive Alien Species in the Pacific project, please contact Mr David Moverley, SPREP's Invasive Species Adviser at davidm@sprep.org
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