Collaborating for improved environmental and health effectiveness, integration and reach

Released to coincide with EU Day

Two European Union funded projects in the Pacific are working together to expand their effectiveness and reach, and deliver improved environmental and public health outcomes across the region.

In New Caledonia last month, representatives from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and PacWaste attended a three-day INTEGRE project workshop at the headquarters of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Noumea.

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The INTEGRE project, which promotes integrated coastal zone management, and the Pacific Hazardous Waste Management (PacWaste) project, are collectively injecting close to 20 million euros in European Union funding across communities in 14 Pacific island countries, four overseas countries and territories (OCTs) and Timor-Leste.

Mr Jesús Laviña, Head of Section for Natural Resources and Infrastructure at the European Union Delegation for the Pacific, explains that while the two projects have different focus areas, there are numerous synergies and opportunities for collaboration:

"It is very pleasing to see these two projects, both funded through the 10th European Development Fund, working together to deliver best practices and, importantly, best value across the region. Collaborations like this one between PacWaste and INTEGRE, serve to expand the reach of both projects and benefit a considerably larger number of communities across the region."

The Pacific Community's INTEGRE Project Coordinator, Delphine Leguerrier, explains that regional collaboration and twinning are key components of both projects:

"For INTEGRE, one of our aims is to promote networking activities and exchanges with mirror sites, provide tailor-made methodological support, and create or strengthen sustainable links between OCTs and their neighbours. Given that PacWaste has similar aims, partnering in key areas will assist us in achieving genuine and enduring change in waste management methods which will, in turn, contribute to more sustainable development for the region."

The second INTEGRE regional technical workshop, which focused on integrated waste management in the Pacific, attracted around 25 waste management professionals from French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Federated States of Micronesia as well as representatives from SPREP, INTEGRE and the Japanese Technical Cooperation Project for Promotion of Regional Initiative on Solid Waste Management in Pacific Island Countries (J-PRISM).

Through a series of detailed presentations and interactive group sessions, participants were able to share their experiences and explore key issues of concern with regard to legislation and governance, financial and economic aspects of waste management systems, hazardous waste, landfill management and strategies for engaging communities in waste reduction.

Speaking from the workshop in Noumea, SPREP's PacWaste Communications Officer, Ms Amber Carvan, observed that the issues faced by OCTs with regard to waste management are not dissimilar to those faced in other area of the Pacific:

"It has been very encouraging to note the cross-cutting issues that impact on both INTEGRE and PacWaste. One example that has been highlighted at the workshop is the importance of engaging communities for positive sustainable waste outcomes. PacWaste is looking forward to involving INTEGRE and communities in the Pacific OCTs in the development of best practice guidelines on communications and public engagement in small island contexts."

The collaboration between the two projects will also see the integration of Wallis and Futuna in PacWaste's regional healthcare waste management training and information sharing on best-practise integrated atoll waste management between Republic of the Marshall Islands, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna.

PacWaste is a 7.85 million euro project, funded by the European Union and implemented by SPREP to improve regional hazardous waste management across the Pacific.

INTEGRE is a 12 million euro project, funded by the European Union and implemented by SPC to promote integrated coastal zone management in nine pilot sites across four OCTs.
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