The Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans MP, was today in Samoa to meet with representatives from 21 Pacific Island Nations, New Zealand, the United States, France and the United Kingdom to discuss the key environmental issues facing the region.
The high-level Talanoa in Samoa was the peak event of the 29th Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) meetings. It is the first time in a decade that an Australian Minister has attended this biennial meeting of Pacific Environment Ministers, continuing Australia’s commitment to ‘Step-up’ engagement with our Pacific neighbours.
“Australia’s presence here builds on the outcomes of the recent Pacific Islands Forum, and reinforces Prime Minister Morrison’s message that Australia appreciates the issues faced by the Pacific are real and immediate,” said Mr Evans. “Australia is fully engaged and strongly committed to working through these shared challenges in our region”.
Discussions amongst the Ministers and senior officials ranged across marine plastic pollution, marine conservation reserves, building climate resilience, and seabed mining, and all were united in their commitment to strong outcomes for the Pacific environment and its people.
“A healthy and clean Pacific Ocean is essential to the quality of life and economic security of all Pacific Island Nations, and Australia is working with our Pacific family to make this happen, including investing $16 million to fund the Pacific Ocean Litter Project to tackle plastics polluting the region’s marine environment”, said Mr Evans.
“There are some tough and critical issues and no easy answers. But reaching shared solutions means having the conversation and mapping out agreed practical actions. That’s what we are doing with our friends and neighbours in the Pacific and that’s what’s reflected in our communique from this meeting”, Mr Evans said.