DG Sheppard's Opening Remarks at the Workshop on Setting Regional Waste Management and Pollution Control Aspirations, 2 March, 2015, Apia Samoa
Welcome to this important workshop on setting regional waste management and pollution control aspirations.
At my first SPREP Meeting as DG in 2009, SPREP Members noted that only 6% of the SPREP budget was allocated to waste management and pollution control and gave me, and SPREP, a clear and firm direction to give more attention to this critically important issue.
I am pleased that we have responded and that in 2015 more than 20% of the overall SPREP budget is allocated to waste management and pollution and also the total dollar amount allocated to this area has increased significantly, given SPREP's budget has increased more than 3 fold over the last 5 years.
There have been two constants over the last 5 years guiding our work on waste management and pollution.
First has been partnership with the Government of Japan, through the J-PRISM Project on solid waste management. I acknowledge this partnership and our excellent working relations with deep appreciation.
The second has been the 2010-2015 Pacific Regional Solid Waste Management Strategy, (2010-15 Strategy) which has been our key guiding document for the last 5 years. I am pleased to note that Esther and Frank played a key role in the development of the original strategy and are still with us and will be playing such a key role throughout todays' workshop and in the development of the new strategy. It is important that we identify any lessons from the development of the 2010-15 Strategy and apply them to the development of the new Strategy you will be discussing today.
We can identify many achievements achieved through the 2010-15 Strategy but it is now timely to review and prepare a new strategy.
Why? Firstly, and obviously, the 2010-15 Strategy ends this year, so we have no choice other than to prepare a new one.
Second, and most important, because there have been many advances over recent years which need to be reflected in a new strategy. These include the considerable advances on the areas of hazardous waste, in particular through the EU supported PacWaste project which is addressing issues such as asbestos, medical waste, used oil and e-waste – big issues for our region. The 2010-15 Strategy is focussed on solid waste and the new strategy must have a broader focus and also must ensure that all components of waste management and pollution control are addressed in an effective and integrated way.
I would also highlight the many new partnerships that have developed over recent years, and these should be recognized in the new strategy. These include with the Asia Pacific Basel Centre located at Tsinghua University – I am pleased to acknowledge the presence in todays' meeting of the first ever Chinese nationals to work at SPREP Ms WANG Chang ("Chang") and Ms KUANG Qiying, both from Tsinghua University, who are working with SPREP on waste management issues.
I also acknowledge with appreciation the support from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority – AMSA – which has generously supported the secondment of Scott Wilson. I am pleased to note that Scott and Tony have proved to be the region's A Team on marine pollution and have helped moved SPREP to a new level on marine pollution in support of our Pacific island members.
The development of a new regional strategy is thus timely and is very important.
This is the start of a number of workshops in our region to develop a new regional waste strategy. I note the title "aspirations" in the title of todays' workshop and believe this is appropriate in that you are the key staff driving this process and you will all need to play a key role in defining what we are seeking to achieve and how we are going to get there.
I urge you all to be actively involved today and give everyone in this group the benefit of your experience. Whether you have just joined SPREP or you have been working here for some time – your input is essential to an effective workshop today and to the development of the best possible new Strategy.
I note there will be follow up workshops to assist the development of this strategy in Guam, Vanuatu, Samoa and Fiji in April and May – you will be busy. The final strategy will be submitted for approval to the 2015 SPREP Meeting in Apia from 21 to 25 September.
In developing this strategy you will need to ensure full and open opportunity for input through and from our Pacific island members and partners. It is important to engage and involve partners donors, and as early as possible, as their full involvement will be fundamental to the implementation and success of the Strategy. It is also important to set realistic expectations about what the strategy will do and what it will not do.
My view on this strategy is that it should establish a clear vision of where the region is heading on waste management and pollution control. It should also provide the broad framework for further action on specific areas rather than setting out the answer to every issue facing the Pacific on waste management and pollution control.
Finally, I note that the current SPREP Strategic Plan will end in December 2016 and that the process of consultation towards developing a new SPREP Strategic Plan will commence when the new Director General arrives at SPREP in January 2016.
Your work this year on the development of the new Regional Waste Management and Pollution Control Strategy should be considered in the context of the new SPREP Strategic Plan and will, in fact, form an integral element of this new Plan.
I would like to thank JICA again for their strong and effective partnership over many years and also acknowledge, with appreciation, our growing list of other partners for SPREP on waste management and pollution control.
I wish you all the best for a productive workshop today and look forward to reviewing the outcomes of your work. Thank you.