Equipping national environment monitoring – Reliefweb

18 September 2017, Apia, Samoa – Four countries launched national publications today at the Pacific Environment Forum, detailing the state of the environment and national strategies for environmental management.

The importance of periodic stocktaking exercises for Pacific islands, such as State of Environment (SOE) reports and National Environment Management Strategies (NEMS), was highlighted today during the launching of national environmental planning and monitoring tools at a side event at the Pacific Environment Forum in Apia, Samoa.

“We need to look beyond just completing the State of Environment Report (SOE), and how we connect these tools with relevant national programs like the Marae Maoana,” said Mr Joseph Brider, Director of the Cook Islands National Environment Service.

The tools, which included the Cook Islands State of Environment (SOE) Report, the Republic of Marshall Islands SOE Report, the Vanuatu National Environment Policy and Implementation Plan, and the Tuvalu National Environment Management Strategy (NEMS), were developed with assistance from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment). The tools were created as part of an initiative of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific group of states funded by the European Union.

Environmental data are critically important for Pacific nations not only for national planning but also to fulfil obligations and measure progress toward multilateral international agreements and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Representatives from the Cook Islands and Tuvalu shared their experiences and spoke on the need for environmental monitoring through regular cycles of reporting and planning, to ensure that countries have appropriate tools and information to continue effective environmental management activities.

“We need to implement the NEMS and to do this we need support from our regional partners to enhance our EIA capacity,” said Mr. Soseala Tinilau, Director of Environment of Tuvalu.

The theme of the side event – “Are we contributing enough to a healthy environment?” – highlighted the importance of baselines and status information as collected in the State of the Environment reporting process, which then inform the development of National Environment Management Strategies.

“Collecting environmental data and information is important to help Pacific countries develop strategic policies and sound planning tools e.g. SOE, NEMS, National Integrated Environment Policy (NIEP) that would maintain the quality of the environment for a sustainable future,” said Mr Kosi Latu, Director General of SPREP.

“Supporting sustainable environmental governance hand-in-hand with our Pacific partners is one of our key regional priorities,” said Mr Sefanaia Nawadra, Head of the UN Environment Pacific Office.

“The time is right now. We have home-grown tools but more importantly there is now national demand for them. We are already seeing improved governance in many of our countries, some world-leading.”

For more information, please contact Mr. Sefanaia Nawadra at unep.pacific@unep.org or Ms. Juney Ward at juneyw@sprep.org

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