REVIEW OF IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROGRAMME OF ACTION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES AND THE REGIONAL ACTION PROGRAMME FOR ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, 1996-2000: PACIFIC PERSPECTIVE
The International community, regional and sub-regional organizations undertook an extensive programme to implement sustainable development in the Pacific islands and met many of the regional objectives set forth in the BPoA and the RAP. Many of the environmental, social and economic problems of the Pacific Islands itemized in the BPoA remain essentially unchanged, or in some cases have degraded. Where sub-regional organizations and national governments improved communications between all interested parties and established better relationships with outsiders, they made substantial progress.
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1. The General Assembly of the United Nations, at its Twenty-second special session in September, 1999, reviewed progress in the implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, (BPoA). The review concluded that there have been:
2. The General Assembly and the Commission on Sustainable Development called on the international community to:
II. MAKING PROGRESS TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
3. Implementation of the BPoA began on the International level with the formulation of plans and funding by the Global Environment Facility, policies and action plans of United Nations agencies, regional and sub-regional agencies, bilateral donors and NGOs.
4. The United Nations agencies active in the Pacific sub-region include, for example, The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Pacific Operations Centre; the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Sub-Regional Office for the Pacific Islands; World Health Organization (WHO); the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Office for the Pacific States; United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); the World Meteorological Office (WMO) Sub-regional office for the Southwest Pacific; The International Oceanographic Commission (IOC); the World Bank; and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). (Description and contact details)
5. The Committee for Sustainable Development and the Inter-agency Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific have been responsible for the coordination, joint programming, monitoring and review of the execution of the global and regional action plans respectively.
6. Bilateral donors, especially Australia, Canada, China, Japan, New Zealand, the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, have participated with their own action strategies and funding programmes.
7. These agencies and plans have resulted in a complex network of activities that fit into the ongoing development and environmental programmes of the Pacific islands regional and sub-regional agencies. All eight sub-regional Pacific organisations have been involved in the spectrum of environmental and developmental issues listed in the BPoA. These organisations include: the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), the University of the Pacific (USP), the South Pacific Tourism Organization (SPTO), and the Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP). The Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP), made up of the heads of the sub-regional organisations, keeps the organisations informed of each other’s activities.
8. The total budget for environmental management assistance programs in the small Pacific islands as of January 1999 was over US$228 million – excluding NGO expenditures. Australia’s AusAid, has been the largest donor for the small island developing states of the Pacific. It is providing US$88 Million in 1999-2000. This is up from US$77 Million in 1996. Only fifteen percent of this (US$13 Million) targets environment and natural resource programmes, but all the funds are provided within a framework for sustainable development. (Funding for the BPoA)
9. Bilateral donors, and the ADB, have tended to provide larger sums for “hard” projects such as current initiatives to supply urban infrastructure development in Vanuatu and Tonga at US$10 million each, and water supply and sewage treatment facilities in several other countries. In addition to these programs, substantial funds go towards health programs, family planning, eco-tourism development, and government restructuring to help institutions function more efficiently.
10. Climate Change remains a primary concern of Pacific island nations and they work closely to present a united – and as yet unsuccessful – lobby for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The Pacific island nations stress that the atmospheric pollution leading to climate change is caused by the industrial nations of the world and large scale deforestation and fossil fuel burning everywhere on the planet.
11. Since 1994, considerable efforts, such as the major GEF/SPREP/UNDP Pacific Islands Climate Change Assistance Programme (PICCAP), have been made to: (i) raise awareness of climate change; (ii) monitor research developments; (iii) develop methodologies for vulnerability assessment; (iv) monitor sea level rise; and (iv) strengthen national capacity to understand the science, impacts and responses to climate change and sea level rise. These efforts have involved environment officials, planners, meteorologists and the general public. All Pacific island countries strongly support the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol.
12. The Pacific Islands Forum acknowledges the usefulness of these activities but continues to stress the need for serious commitments on the part of the industrial nations to assist the islands with clean energy development technology and for the industrial nations to take serious action towards reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
13. Cyclones, floods, droughts, tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions do considerable damage to sustainable development plans. The economic costs have often severely undermined island communities’ livelihood and productive sector. While nobody can avert natural disasters, the impacts can be greatly minimised by (i) accurate and timely prediction when and where disasters will strike; (ii) rapid emergency response to victims; and (iii) land use planning to reduce vulnerability.
14. Advances in the first two areas have been noteworthy in the Pacific sub-region. SPREP hosts the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) sub-regional Office. SPREP and WMO have collaborated in providing eight Pacific island developing countries with equipment to receive low-orbit weather satellite images. SPREP has also provided real-time computer displays to national meteorological services that show readings from weather monitoring stations.
15. Better prediction of storms has reduced loss of life and damage to property and has better enabled governments to mobilise emergency response teams to assist communities with food, medicine, and shelter.
16. Vulcanologists have become increasingly adept at predicting when volcanoes will erupt and sometimes when violent earthquakes will happen. When the volcano exploded in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, in 1994, for example, the community was warned and evacuated long in advance.
17. Disposal of wastes remains a serious concern to Pacific island countries. In 1995, the members of the Pacific Islands Forum formulated the Convention to Ban the Importation into Forum Island Countries of Hazardous and Radioactive Wastes (Waigani Convention) and to control the Transboundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes within the South Pacific Region. The Convention is a sub-regional adaptation that complements the global Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (1989).
18. Activities associated with the Waigani Convention include each country: (i) banning import of hazardous and radioactive wastes; (ii), minimising the production of hazardous wastes; (iii) establishing proper disposal methods for hazardous wastes; (iv) developing national legislation to prevent and punish illegal trafficking of wastes and; (v) considering becoming signatories to the London Dumping Convention, the SPREP Convention and the Basel Convention. The Waigani Convention was signed in Papua New Guinea in 1995, but by 2000, only five countries had ratified the Convention and an additional five are required to bring it into force. Of Pacific island countries, only Papua New Guinea and the Federated States of Micronesia have ratified the Basel convention.
19. The shipment of radioactive wastes through the region is of great concern to the Pacific island leaders. At the 1999 Thirtieth South Pacific Forum meeting, “The Forum noted the constructive dialogue that had taken place between Forum members and government and nuclear industry representatives from France, Japan and the United Kingdom on the current liability and compensation regime for the shipment of radioactive materials and Mixed Oxide Fuel (MOX) through the region. It reaffirmed its desire to continue to pursue discussions with France, Japan and the United Kingdom on a liability regime for compensating the region for economic losses caused to tourism, fisheries and other industries affected as a result of an accident involving a shipment of radioactive materials and MOX fuel even if there is no actual environmental damage caused.”
20. SPREP’s Pollution Prevention and Waste Management programme began in 1995 to assist countries in preventing, reducing and managing pollution and wastes, including the development and maintenance of national and regional emergency response and planning capabilities. The terrestrial component targets solid waste management and minimisation, chemical management, waste water management and land use planning.
21. The EU-funded Regional Waste Education and Awareness Programme began in 1998 to improve public knowledge and awareness of the problems of solid wastes. The two year, US$700,000 project aims to; (i) review and acquire information on solid waste management in 9 Pacific island countries; (ii) develop and distribute a multimedia regional programme of general waste awareness education; (iii) identify, develop, and implement country and theme specific awareness and education campaigns; (iv) identify priority legislative measures relating to waste management; and (v) encourage and assist the implementation of recycling activities.
22. SPREP and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have developed a Strategy and Workplan for the Protection of the Marine Environment in the South Pacific. The Strategy will assist with technical, legal and scientific cooperation between Pacific Island countries for the protection of the marine environment from pollution from ships and related activities, and the mitigation of the environmental impacts of such pollution. In 1999, model marine pollution legislation was produced for Pacific island countries through collaboration between SPREP, SPC, and PIF.
23. SPREP is also a member of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities. UNEP initiated the Global Programme of Action 1995 in recognition that up to 70 per cent of marine pollution is derived from land-based sources. Seven key areas are targeted and SPREP will assist member countries with reduction of pollution from: (i) persistent organic pollutants including pesticides; (ii) sewage; (iii) heavy metals; (iv) excessive nutrients from organic sources and sediment mobilisation; (v) oils and solid wastes including plastics, and litter; (vi) radioactive substances; and (vii) physical disturbances including habitat modification and destruction.
24. SPREP’s Management of Persistent Organic Pollutants in Pacific Island Countries project aims at identification and removal of stocks of unwanted and waste chemicals and clean up of contaminated sites. SPREP plans to produce a comprehensive database on types, quantities and locations of waste chemicals and unused pesticides in the region. All chemical and oil contaminated sites in the region have be identified, and a preliminary assessment made of the extent of contamination.
25. National governments have recently begun to take steps to deal with hazardous wastes. Samoa has a waste oil disposal programme and Fiji has a clean city award programme. New Caledonia recycles waste oil and aluminium cans. FSM has privatised waste disposal.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) has been integrating the efforts of national fisheries agencies in the Coastal Fisheries Programme. The Coastal Fisheries Programme has two major divisions; the Integrated Coastal Fisheries Management Project and the Inshore Fisheries Research Project. These programmes assist nations with expert technical training in all aspects of fishing, including research, catching and processing sea foods, storage and marketing. The SPC has played a key role in building a consensus for sustainable development in national fisheries agencies and helped promote an awareness of the need to decentralise fisheries management, recognize the role of women in fisheries, and involve local communities in self-management programmes.
26. Fisheries departments in the Cook Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa and American Samoa are at various stages of developing partnerships with local communities to sustainably manage their coastal resources. For example, the Cook Islands Ministry of Marine Resources is implementing two ADB funded projects on coastal resource management; the Outer Island Marine Resource Management project and the Marine Resources Management and Conservation programme (total cost US$ 700,000). The projects include having local communities plan, manage and enforce management policy. In Samoa, the Fisheries Department is implementing the AusAID funded Samoa Fisheries Extension and Training Project, one of the most innovative and successful examples of community/government partnerships for coastal fisheries management in the Pacific sub-region. American Samoa has a community based wetlands programme.
27. In Vanuatu, temporary reef closures are a traditional means of conservation management. These are now actively encouraged by the Fisheries Division and have been in widespread use in the country. In some cases, the traditional system has been expanded to include the concept of formal, permanent community reserves. For example, in the Meskalyne Islands, a community set up a giant clam marine reserve in 1992. This reserve is entirely run and supported by the village people and, in 1998, had more than 1,100 giant clams. Bans on fishing in designated areas are also practised in the Cook Islands through recent re-introduction of the traditional Raui.
28. Offshore fisheries are managed in a partnership between the Forum Fisheries Agency and the SPC. The SPC provides a scientific analysis of the status of the offshore fish populations. The FFA mediates agreements between distant water fishing nations and its 14 Pacific island members, and designs management and enforcement strategies at Multilateral High Level Conferences on South Pacific Tuna Fisheries (MHLC) from 1994 to 2000. The MHLC 2000 is expected to reach a formal management agreement on limiting fishing effort for sustainable yields.
29. The Asian Development Bank declared provision of safe fresh water as one of its major priority funding areas, yet of the 14 major ADB programmes in the Pacific only three are explicitly on water – the rebuilding of the water and sanitation system in Tarawa, Kiribati (a US$ 12 million project), Rarotonga, Cook Islands, and Luganville, Vanuatu. The ADB, as part of its Government Restructuring programmes in the Pacific islands, has generally encouraged the privatisation of power and water utilities as a means to improve water delivery and limit water loss. Six Pacific island countries have already privatised their water supplies. Vanuatu, Nauru, Guam, Marshall Islands, and two of the Federated States of Micronesia. Port Vila’s water services have been privatised since 1994. The Union Electrique du Vanuatu gets funds from consumers and supplies 98% of Port Vila’s population. The amount of unaccounted water dropped from 42% to 26% between 1990 to 1996. Connections increased by 45%.
30. Programmes to mitigate pollution of water supplies seek to improve sanitation, waste disposal, and contamination from agricultural chemicals. There are about US$ 36 million worth of sanitation projects underway in the Pacific sub-region in the 1998-2000 period. These include sanitation in Tarawa, Kiribati (part of the US$12 million water and sanitation programme of ADB), the Marshall Islands (ADB Ebeye Health and Infrastructure Programme US$ 8.2 million), Nuku’alofa (ADB Nuku’alofa Urban Development US$ 10 million), Port Vila, Vanuatu (ADB Sanitation Master Plan for Port Vila US$ 10 million), Regional Pacific Waste Management Project for improvement of urban solid waste management, septic tank sludge management, management of persistent organic pollutants (AusAID US$600,000), SPREP Regional Waste Awareness and Education Programme (EU ECU 600,000), SOPAC village based, small scale sewage treatment systems (NZODA US$ 37,000), American Samoa waste water treatment facility (USA US$ 1million), and Palau village waste water project (USA US$ 1.1 million).
31. Governments in the region regularly monitor water supplies for contamination by sewage. Recently, this monitoring has expanded to include contamination by agricultural chemicals. Weed killers and pesticides have been found in the groundwater of Niue and Tonga. Community based programs seek to reduce contamination of groundwater and streams. In American Samoa, for example, a community based project protects the major recharge area for the Pago Pago municipal supply. In Tuvalu, communities maintain water catchment facilities. In Pohnpei, watershed protection is an essential part of a biodiversity conservation area.
32. Initiatives to promote government controlled zoning have been unpopular in most of the independent Pacific islands. Recent community based projects have had more success. For example, the 1994 AusAID funded Vanuatu Land Use Planning Project, integrated a broad set of principles and guidelines for development of land resources. The project promoted a Community Area Resource Management Activity (CARMA) "Bridging the Gap" that incorporate GIS land use plans to assist the process of integrating community, provincial government and national government interests and capabilities across all sectors. Communities proved willing to plan the use of the land so long as they were involved on an equal basis in developing the plan.
33. Territories of France and the United States have active land use plans. American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, participate in the U.S. Coastal Zone Management programme and cross-sectoral committees conduct EIA of new development projects. Several initiatives by UNDP, SPREP, and FAO are promoting Integrated Coastal Management projects in the sub-region.
34. There have been a number of initiatives towards increasing energy efficiency and development of renewable energy programmes in the Pacific islands. Rural electrification programmes using solar photovoltaic panels were conducted in Kiribati, Tuvalu, Tonga, Cook Islands, and French Polynesia. The Pacific Power Association, SOPAC, SPC, and the French Government have helped provide rural islands with photovoltaic energy, small hydroelectric plants, and wind generators. New Caledonia has installed a wind farm that feeds into the Noumea municipal grid. The country also has extensive hydroelectric capacity. Samoa, Fiji, the Solomon Islands and PNG have small to mid-sized hydroelectric facilities that play an important role in reducing fuel imports.
35. In February 2000, Australia and France began a major regional renewable energy program, based at the SPC, to reduce emissions through fuel switching, improve energy efficiency measures and increase the use of renewable energy to meet rising energy demands. 
36. The Pacific island governments have long been aware of the environmental and economic advantages and disadvantages of tourism development. Most countries had integrated tourism development procedures in place well before the Barbados conference. Industry representatives work closely with government tourism offices to assure sustainability of their activities. Ecotourism is an important strategy to promote sustainable tourism throughout the region.
37. Ecotourism is also an important strategy for funding community based conservation areas and raising local awareness of the value of natural wilderness areas. Private industry is also actively involved in protecting ecosystem integrity. For example, the Fiji Dive Operators Association campaigns for conservation and sustainable use of the marine environment and carries out local research and education projects for marine conservation. The Fiji Hotel Association lobbies government on sustainability issues that impact their activities on the natural assets for tourism.
38. To preserve the unique biodiversity resources of the Pacific islands, GEF/AusAID/UNDP provided US$10 million over 5 years for a community management conservation area initiative, SPREP’s South Pacific Biodiversity Conservation Programme (SPBCP). The programme helped communities establish 17 conservation areas in 12 countries- Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. A trust fund to ensure sustainability of these conservation areas is currently being instigated as part of the overall Action Strategy for Nature Conservation in the Pacific – a joint initiative between Pacific island countries and a range of international and regional environmental organisations such as IUCN, WWF, TNC.
39. The SPREP/SPBCP is one of a range of community managed conservation initiatives which complements more conventional parks and protected areas such as Fagatale Bay and Rose Atoll in American Samoa, the Rock Islands in Palau, and land and marine parks and reserves in New Caledonia. There are also important traditional forms of conservation in the sub-region including closed areas, fishing and hunting restrictions, and related traditional practices.
40. SPREP has also assisted the region with biodiversity initiatives for specific species and ecosystems, such as sea turtles, marine mammals, and coral reefs. Nations have responded by increased protection of these resources. For example, Fiji initiated a 5 year moratorium on capture of sea turtles. Dive clubs in many Pacific island nations have assisted the International Coral Reef Initiative and the Reef Check project in surveying and monitoring coral reefs.
41. The SPREP secretariat assists Pacific island countries at meetings of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), especially with the issue of Intellectual Property Rights under the Biosafety Protocol. Recently, Pacific island countries have begun work with SPREP on invasive species.
42. The Forests and Trees Support Programme originated as a UNDP/FAO South Pacific Forestry Development Programme (SPFDP). The Pacific Islands Forests and Trees Support Programme emerged in 1997 and in 1999 was integrated with the SPC as a permanent regional activity for 22 Pacific island nations. It has facilitated the resolutions of the regional Heads of Forestry meetings in a broad range of projects for sustainable forestry ranging from the preparation of regional and national codes of logging practice to gene banks of valuable plants to village women building high efficiency wood-fired stoves.
43. By 1994, most Pacific island states had already taken steps to meet the BPoA commitment to “Strengthen institutional arrangements and administrative capacity, including cross-sectoral/inter-ministerial committees and task forces”.
43. Between 1989 and 1994, for example, ESCAP, ADB, UNDP and SPREP encouraged 15 Pacific island countries to set up cross-sectoral environmental management committees. These multi-level-committees developed National Environmental Management Strategies (NEMS). Many of these cross-sectoral committees remain active or are reformed as required to address sustainable development issues. Even so, information constraints form a major challenge to Pacific island nations.
44. The 8 primary sub-regional organizations, coordinated by CROP, provide institutional and technical cooperation based on decisions and work plans detailed by their member countries. The GEF funded International Waters project, executed by SPREP in partnership with SPC, FFA, and SOPAC is an example of how the sub-regional organisations can combine their capabilities for a holistic approach to regional issues. The vision statement of the Pacific islands Forum summarises the spirit of regional cooperation.
45. The sub-regional organisations of the Pacific followed the Agenda 21 recommendations to improve vertical communications. For example, they regularly invite representatives from NGOs and other interested parties to national and regional conferences and workshops. This has helped accelerate local interest and involvement in a wide range of environmental and sustainable development issues.
46. Governments, Regional Organisations and NGOs rely on the media as a critical partner in developing public awareness of sustainable development issues. SPREP and AusAID have held a series of media training courses in the Pacific islands to improve the media’s ability to assist in mass communication of important environmental issues. SPREP and UNESCO, in partnership with the Pacific Environmental Information Network have actively promoted community awareness and participation with environmental programmes. Environment and development issues are regularly featured by magazines, newspapers, radio and television broadcasts in the Pacific islands. The Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) takes an active interest in environmental issues.
47. Community theatre is of special relevance to community understanding of sustainable development issues. Community theatre groups in Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Vanuatu and American Samoa help government, NGOs and Regional organizations in presenting environmental ideas in novel and entertaining ways. In Vanuatu, for example, the Vanuatu Sustainable Forestry Programme funded Wan Smolbag Theatre to write and produce a play on the new Vanuatu Code of Logging Practices and then supported the theatre to teach people from remote islands to perform the play in villages during visits by forestry extension agents. In 1998, the Vanuatu Department of Health enlisted the support of the Wan Smol Bag Theatre in a victorious campaign to clean up litter and thus stop a dengue epidemic that was being spread by mosquitoes. The group has also been an active partner in regional campaigns for the Year of the Turtle and the Year of the Coral Reef.
48. Environment Week, in the Kingdom of Tonga, began as a radio broadcasting project. Since then, for a whole week in June every year, Tongans celebrate Environment Week. The practice has spread to Samoa and American Samoa.
49. The Internet has been playing an increasingly important role in coordinating activities throughout the sub-region. Several web sites post news items on Pacific island issues and regional organizations use their web sites to disseminate important information to the Pacific community.
50. In 1999, The Pacific Islands Forum produced a Vision for the Pacific Information Economy that plans for an extensive development of Internet capability throughout the Pacific Islands as a means to reduce the constraints of poor communications, great distances, and lack of easily available knowledge. It will assist with rural development in a number of critical ways, including access to educational materials, medical advice, and economic opportunities.
51. Sub-regional organisations cooperate through PACINET to exchange information and coordinate information technology activities of the sub-regional organizations.
52. The Pacific islands have made considerable advances in ocean science. SOPAC, for example, has assisted member governments with extensive mapping surveys of their deep ocean resources. In 1998, New Caledonia completed a highly sophisticated deep ocean survey of the natural resources within its 200 mile exclusive economic zone.
53. The International Oceanographic Commission (IOC), in concert with numerous other international organisations, instigated a Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) to provide the information needed for oceanic and atmospheric forecasting, for ocean and coastal zone management by coastal nations, and for global environmental change research. GOOS is being designed by 4 design panels: Coastal; Living Marine Resources; Health of the Ocean; and Climate. New regional GOOS programmes include PacificGOOS (initiated in Fiji, February 1998). A PacificGOOS workshop was held in Noumea, in October 1999, to initiate planning for long term monitoring and observing in the region's coastal seas.
54. Participatory science is a highly effective way to learn about environmental issues. Since 1996, Schools of the Pacific Rainfall Climate Experiment (SPaRCE), run by the University of Oklahoma has linked 130 schools with global research scientists to document climate conditions throughout the Pacific Ocean.
55. Ecowoman is a global programme to involve women with research initiatives. In Fiji and Samoa, for example, women participate in scientific studies on pharmaceutical value of traditional medicine plants.
56. The Pacific islands have excelled in improving public awareness and developing formal education on environmental issues. The SPREP Environmental Education program has convened teacher workshops and environmental education conferences on curriculum development, teacher training, multi-media, public awareness and materials production. The program targets formal and non-formal audiences and provides training for teachers, non-government organisations, church leaders and the media. SPREP, in association with UNEP, coordinated two major Pacific Regional Conferences for Environment Education and Training. A major outcome of the 1988 conference was a UNEP/SPREP/USP Environmental Education Teachers’ Manual and the second, in 1998, a Regional Environmental Education Strategy developed and currently being implemented by member governments in association with UNEP, USP, and SPREP, DFID and other partners.
57. A major SPREP/NZODA funded Training Needs Assessment undertaken in 1999 identified member country needs for environmental management training. Training is regularly conducted through SPREP, often in association with sub-regional training institutes eg. Climate Change Adaptation through SPREP/University of Waikato/USP and Conservation Practioner Training through SPREP/USP and the International Centre for Protected Landscapes (ICPL).
58. SPREP also conducted an extensive Capacity 21 programme that introduced sustainable development concepts to government workers in a number of critical sectors including planning and finance.
59. As summarized in the preceding issue paper (Agenda item 4) the environmental problems listed in the BPoA still exist, and many of them are worse than they were in 1972 when the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment first identified them as priority areas of concern. For example, although SPREP conducted a series of programmes on hazardous waste and pollution, there has been little progress in developing comprehensive waste stream management programmes in any of the Pacific islands. Municipal dumps remain in the mangroves and continue to be set alight and continue to be covered with pesticides to control flies. Hazardous wastes find their way into the dumps along with all other waste products. Leachates from the pesticides and hazardous wastes also continue in flow into the coastal environments.
60. Constraints encountered by developing countries of the sub-region have included access to information; limited finances, human resources for the implementation of sustainable development measures, and fledgling institutions and administrative capacity. For example, many of the countries of the sub-region simply do not have the human resources needed to develop a critical mass of environmentally aware and technically qualified staff for the execution of major sustainable development programmes and projects. Moreover, the sub-region has been subject to economic and environmental vulnerabilities, such as external economic shocks and the impacts of natural disasters, climatic change, and potential sea-level rise. Such setbacks have at times, hampered progress in implementation of sustainable development initiatives, in spite of best intentions.
61. The first progressive steps towards extending the decision making process to include all interested parties has made a wide range of people aware of the issues, but crossing the threshold from awareness to action will require; (1) more graduates of tertiary and specialized educational courses in environmental management; (2) integration of environmental considerations into development planning through wider consultation at community level, (3) a mutual vision of a sustainable future everyone on the island can strive for, and; (4) the full cooperation and greater support of all partners to achieve a shared and sustainable future in the Pacific.
62. The nations of the Pacific sub-region have successfully cooperated on three major environmental issues; (i) Urging the industrial nations to reduce CO2 emissions; (ii) Prevention of the use of their islands as global sites for the disposal of toxic or hazardous wastes; (iii) Regulation of offshore fisheries by fishing fleets from non Pacific island nations. The focus for this successful cooperation is the common protection of the island countries against environmental threats by outsiders.
63. Since 1982, the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) played the central coordinating role on environmental issues for the small Pacific island countries. Its main contributions have been; (1) assistance with the creation of environmental units and national environmental management strategies in national governments; (2) facilitating negotiation of international/regional agreements for environmental management and conservation of nature; (3) assistance with the creation and maintenance of 17 community based conservation areas; (4) an enormous increase in environmental awareness in both the government and civil sectors of all Pacific island countries; and (5) provision of technical assistance to member countries on a wide range of environmental issues.
64. The major accomplishments of National Governments include; (1) beginning the process of decentralising responsibility and authority for environmental management; (2) forming partnerships with NGOs; (3) stressing environmental sustainability in plans and government policies; (4) proactive support for community run conservation areas and reserves; (5) recognition of community resource rights; (6) understanding (if not strengthening) the links between environment, economic and social development; (6) enabling a decline in population growth.
65. Despite these accomplishments, the environmental problems that existed in 1994 continue to worsen. There is, however, reason to anticipate a major shift towards environmental responsibility in the next decade. This will be facilitated by; (1) the emergence of young adults who have received an environmental education and understand that their future is a matter of choice; (2) development of easily understood guidelines for making sustainable choices; (3) discovery of a common vision for the future; (4) new technologies for communications and energy, and; (5) a global support system of information, funding and hardware, bolstered by a global desire to attain a sustainable society.