Environmental Governance & Monitoring Headlines

Marshall Islands and SPREP work together to develop crucial national environment documents

The Marshall Islands are working with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) to develop their State of the Environment Report.

Periodic SOE reports serve as a "health check-up" for the environment and environmental services upon which the people of the Marshall Islands depend. The results from these reports feed directly into strategic environmental planning, which seeks to protect the healthy parts of RMI's environmental systems and improve other parts that are in decline.

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View of the Marshall Islands from the sky, photo courtesy of Diane McFadzien

A two day State of the Environment Report write-shop and National Environmental Management Strategy consultation was held in the Marshall Islands this month.

The gathering of SPREP staff, including SPREP's locally-based RMI technical expert Ms. Moriana Phillip, and Marshall Islands environment stakeholders such as government officials, local governments, NGO representatives, and College of the Marshall Islands academics - was opened by the Minister for Internal Affairs, Hon. David Kabua.

He urged participants to develop a practical action strategy that the government and people of the Marshall Islands could take ownership of.

"The Office of Environmental Planning and Policy Coordination (OEPPC) is charged with enhancing the well-being and living standards of our islands and its people. The protection and enhancement of the living environment is an important aspect of its duty," said Minister Kabua.

"With the rising driving forces such as the social, demographic and economic developments in societies and the corresponding changes in lifestyles and overall levels of consumption and production patterns, it is vital for Government to put in place policies and plans aimed at sound well-being for man and the environment. "

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Over two and a half days, all stakeholders worked together to continue the drafting process of the RMI State of Environment Report and started the process to develop a national action strategy for strengthening environmental management and planning.

"We worked together with stakeholders from the Marshall Islands to review populate and update seven thematic areas of the report, these being - Atmosphere and Climate; Marine; Land; Culture and Heritage; Biodiversity; the Built Environment; and, Nuclear Testing Legacy," said Mr. Paul Anderson, SPREP's Environmental Monitoring Analyst.

"Similarly, participants reviewed strategic directions outlined in the last Marshall Islands National Environment Management Strategy," added Mr. Jope Davetanivalu, SPREP's Planning and Capacity Development Adviser.
"Insights were invited as to relevance and changes in national environmental management priorities and goals, since this was last produced."

Other activities conducted concurrently throughout the week included distribution of a survey to gauge environmental impact assessment capacity and training needs in the Marshall Islands, and a demonstration of the BIOPAMA-supported Pacific Islands Protected Areas Portal and national protected areas data verification process.

The current exercise will update the 1992 Marshall Islands SOE and National Environment Management Strategy, contribute to the achievement of the RMI National Strategic Plan, and also link to other regional and global plans such as the SAMOA Pathway, Rio Convention and other Multilateral Environmental Agreements which the country has ratified.

The State of the Environment (SOE) Report write-shop and National Environmental Management Strategy (NEMS) consultation was held from 3 – 6 August at the Melele Convention Facility. This is the second in-country consultation for SPREP staff from the Environmental Monitoring and Governance Division.
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