Developing an environmental assessment framework in the Pacific
In collaboration with the Secretariat for Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP), Heath Kelsey, Tracey Saxby, and Adrian Jones traveled to Samoa (Tracey and Adrian will be there until the end of this month) to help develop an environmental assessment framework for Pacific island countries. This current work follows on from a workshop in Nadi, Viti Levu, Fiji, in March this year.
SPREP’s goal with this initiative is to improve the efficiency of regional environmental reporting, in part by applying a consistent assessment framework based on habitats that are common among countries and island types.
This framework is also designed to focus the assessment on the “state” of the environment. Previously, most reporting has been on management “responses” taken to protect the environment, or on “pressures” on the environment; to date, reporting on the actual environmental condition has not received as much attention in the pacific region.
Applying the framework in Samoa
We began the process of applying the framework with a workshop in Apia, Upolu, Samoa with the representatives from SPREP and several government ministries, departments, and organizations. The workshop resulted in a draft newsletter that describes the assessment framework, and highlights the resources and pressures affecting the environment in Samoa. This newsletter will be released in time for the 50th independence anniversary celebration in early June, and the current state of the environment report will be the first example of applying the framework in the pacific region.