NUKU’ALOFA-August 2: 4.02pm (MEIDECC): Over 50 delegates across the Pacific Island region are meeting in Nukualofa this week for the 2nd Global Environment Facility Pacific Ridge to Ridge Regional Programme Steering Committee Meeting at the Tanoa International Dateline Hotel, which was opened on Monday.
The 5-day regional meeting is hosted by the Pacific Community – SPC – in partnership with the Tonga’s Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR) and the Department of Environment (Ministry of MEIDECC).
The meeting was officially opened on Monday morning by the Minister of Agriculture and Food, Forests and Fisheries, Honourable Semisi Fakahau, with welcoming remarks by the Officer in Charge of the GEF/UNDP/SPC Pacific Regional IW R2R Project, Dr. Fonongava’inga Mangisi-Mafileo on behalf of SPC, and Dr. Winifreti Nainoca, Deputy Team Leader Resilience and Sustainable Development on behalf of the implementing agencies: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).
The 5-year project supports the coordinated investment of the US$91 million package of GEF grants and aims to deliver tangible and quantifiable local and global environmental benefits by focusing on cross-cutting approaches to water, land and coastal management with linkages across GEF focal areas.
As part of the project, participating countries will have the opportunity to strengthen their capacity to successfully demonstrate and transfer technology to support targeted vulnerable areas, improve livelihoods and public health, and upscale their effective mainstreaming efforts to support countries in achieving their sustainable development goals.
The project promotes a “whole of island” approach ensuring that policies, multiple sectors, agencies and community interests are properly considered and integrated to ensure sustainable development through participatory planning and management of resources.
Outcomes of this project will provide valuable insights and lessons learned that can be shared for replication between countries in the Pacific, and with similar initiatives covering other small island developing states for replication and scaling up.
The meeting includes representatives from 14 participating Pacific Island countries, the Pacific Community (SPC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and other regional development partners.
UNDP is the lead agency for this Regional Programme consisting of 13 National Projects that are directly implemented by the countries, and the regional programme support project implemented by the Pacific Community – SPC.
SPC, an international development organization serving 26 member countries and territories works across more than 25 sectors in fisheries science, public health surveillance, geoscience and conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.
Participating countries include the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshal Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.