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SOPAC and SPC sign Letter of Understanding

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In Port Vila, at the Plenary Session of the 41st Pacific Island Leaders Meeting, Wednesday 4th August, the Director of SOPAC, Dr Russell Howorth and the Director General of SPC, Dr Jimmie Rodgers, signed a Letter of Agreement to transfer and integrate the core work programme of SOPAC into SPC as a new Applied Geoscience and Technology Division to commence operations on 1st January 2011.

Witnessing the signing on behalf to the SOPAC Governing Council was the current chair Vanuatu represented by the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Honourable Edward Natapei. The SPC Conference was represented by the current chair Tonga, represented by the Prime Minister of Tonga, Honourable Feleti Sevele.

Prime Minister Natapei said, “ We have just witnessed a rare if not unique moment it the history of Pacific regionalism. In 2007 the Leaders decided that the work of SOPAC be integrated into the SPC and SPREP. Three Letters of Agreement were signed earlier in the year to transfer energy, ICT and climate related activities to SPC and SPREP. But this Letter of Agreement signed today marks the largest single transfer between two of our regional organisations. It involves some 100 staff and an annual budget of between FJ$20-30 million.

I wish to commend all those that have been involved in bringing the Leaders decision into effect. I am sure I speak for all of us, Members, development partners and all stakeholders, when I look forward to the SOPAC work programme further improving its service delivery as a result of the new opportunities this move affords.

SOPAC “The Commission” has indeed today crossed the bridge to become SOPAC “The Division” of the SPC. I look forward to the 1st January 2011 when it will become fully operational.

Let me close by appealing to all, that this cannot happen if the support to the SOPAC work programme in its new home is not secured. Having complied with the Leaders decision it is now our collective responsibility to work to ensure that it is successful and sufficiently resourced”

Prime Minister Sevele supported the sentiments expressed by Prime Minister Natapei highlighting that he was pleased to see a Forum Leaders decision made at its 2007 meeting in Tonga come to fruition.


Last Updated on Thursday, 05 August 2010 18:06  


Nadi, August 7, 2012: After three years of hard work Pacific Island countries are starting to deliver significant results under a regional project that was set up to address some of the most challenging water and sanitation issues in the Pacific.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded Pacific Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Project was launched in 12 countries in 2009 to protect vital watersheds, manage wastewater and sanitation, assess and protect water resources, and improve water efficiency and safety. The benefits of the work are now starting to be felt in the region.

“When we started out water and sanitation issues were dealt with sectorally, with agencies only focusing on their small part of a bigger problem and not communicating or working together in a coordinated and efficient manner,” Marc Wilson, Regional Project Manager for the GEF Pacific IWRM Project, said. “By demonstrating an integrated approach through tangible on-the-ground activities, we’ve seen a change in that. Not just in the localised area of the demonstration project but in many countries nationally, and also regionally.”

“For example in the Nadi Basin there was little consultation or long-term strategic planning between different sectors but the establishment of the Nadi Basin Catchment Committee (NBCC) has changed that. We now have all the key players around the same table discussing and making decisions on water management and flood reduction strategies and the Fiji Government is looking at replicating this model in other important catchments like Ba,” Mr Wilson said.