Increasing the Pacific’s Capacity to Deal with Waste Related Issues

Representatives from 15 Pacific islands have come together for the PacWaste Plus Inception Meeting, where they will have the opportunity to meet with the PacWaste Plus Programme team and learn more about what the project’s activities and projected outcomes for their country will be.

A partnership between the European Union (EU) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the PacWaste Plus Programme focuses on building the capacity of Pacific islands to manage waste in an environmentally sound manner.

The PacWaste Plus Programme Agreement was signed between the EU and SPREP in February this year at SPREP’s headquarters in Apia, Samoa. The project seeks to support the 15 participating countries to reduce the production of, and improve the management of, hazardous wastes, solid wastes and related aspects of waste water. It will work to assist countries to improve data collection to inform decision making; strengthen legislative and policy frameworks; incentivise public and private partnerships in the waste sector; and build the capacity of governments, industry and the community to reduce waste generation, and effectively manage wastes that are generated.

In his opening remarks, the Team Leader of Climate Change, Energy, and Circular Economy of the Delegation of the EU for the Pacific, Mr Adrian Nicolae said that, “despite many recent achievements, more is needed for our Pacific island countries to deliver the vision of the Cleaner Pacific 2025 strategy. Based on the lessons learned from the previous PacWaste project, which focused on hazardous waste and finished in 2017, PacWaste Plus is a much more ambitious and comprehensive project. It takes a broader approach, looking across eight different waste streams at data availability, legal framework and capacity building to deliver good waste management practices across the Pacific Island Countries.”

The waste streams the project will focus on are hazardous wastes (asbestos, e-waste, and healthcare waste), solid wastes (recyclables, organic waste, disaster waste, and bulky waste), and wastewater.

Pacific island countries face significant risks to their environment and human health as a result of poor waste and pollution management. Many countries in the region lack the appropriate infrastructure, legislation, and personnel needed to adequately manage waste and pollution.  Continued poor management of wastes is likely to start impacting on tourism, fisheries and agricultural industries, so the investment from the EU to support countries to improve practices is vital to manage these risks.

“SPREP and its members have long held the vision that the Pacific should be a region where human health and the environment are not threatened by waste, and in particular hazardous and toxic waste and chemicals,” said Dr Vicki Hall, Director of Waste Management and Pollution Control Programme at SPREP during her opening remarks. “PacWaste Plus, in partnership with other regional waste management and pollution control programmes operating throughout the region, is one project that will help this vision be realised, and we’re grateful for the continued support from the EU.”

The PacWaste Plus Programme, once successfully implemented, will generate improved economic, social, health, and environmental benefits for Pacific island countries and their communities.

The PacWaste Plus Programme builds on the work undertaken by the EU funded PacWaste Programme. It supports the delivery of actions outlined in the Pacific Regional Waste and Pollution Management Strategy 2016-2025 (Cleaner Pacific 2025).

The Programme duration is 5 years with a 16.5 million Euros budget which will cover work to be undertaken in Cook Islands, Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Fiji, Republic of Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The PacWaste Plus Inception Meeting is designed to empower the participating countries to actively engage in the project’s design, and confirm each Countries priorities for action to be undertaken on-ground to assist them to strengthen their waste management policies, legislation and practices. The meeting will run from Monday 27 to Wednesday 29 May, 2019.

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