19 July, 2016: Participants from 13 Pacific island countries and territories have joined representatives from the European Union and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in Santo, Vanuatu for the Fourth Annual Steering Committee Meeting of the PacWaste project.
PacWaste (Pacific Hazardous Waste) is a €7.85 million, four year project supported by the European Union and implemented by SPREP to improve regional hazardous waste management across the Pacific. PacWaste has four focus areas – asbestos, E-waste, healthcare waste and integrated atoll waste management.
SPREP’s PacWaste Project Manager, Mr Stewart Williams explains that the Steering Committee Meeting is an important mechanism for review, discussion and planning:
“Over the coming days we’ll be listening carefully to our key stakeholders as they review and discuss the project’s progress over the past year and provide input and guidance on our plans for the coming one.”
The meeting was formally opened on 18 July by The Hon. Ham Lini Vanuaroroa, Vanuatu’s Minister of Climate Change, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Environment and Energy and Mr Dick Lini, Second Political Advisor responsible for Environment.
Meeting Chair and Director of Vanuatu’s Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation, Mr Jason Raubani, thanked PacWaste for the opportunity to host the event:
“We welcome this opportunity to have the PacWaste team here in Vanuatu. As well as showcasing some of our waste management challenges and success stories, this regional meeting provides a valuable opportunity for our staff to engage with other waste management experts from the Pacific and share experiences.”
Mr Jesús Laviña, Head of Section for Natural Resources and Infrastructure at the European Union Delegation for the Pacific, Suvaexplains that the European Union considers collaboration and twinning to be an essential aspect of development assistance in the Pacific:
“Collaboration is at the heart of the PacWaste project. We see this gathering of PacWaste stakeholders in Vanuatu as an important means of promoting networking between participating island countries and to strengthen sustainable links between all countries and territories in the region,” said Mr Laviña who is attending the three-day meeting.
The Fourth Annual PacWaste Steering Committee Meeting is taking place from 18-20 July, 2016. Representatives from Cook Islands, Federated States or Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are in attendance, alongside delegates from the European Union, SPREP and J-PRISM – theJapanese Technical Cooperation Project for Promotion of Regional Initiative on Solid Waste Management in Pacific Island Countries, funded through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).