Media 31 Oct 2018
The Pacific Community (SPC), Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and European Union (EU) have signed a multi-year climate and biodiversity agreement providing funding of some EUR 36 million over four years. Dubbed PROTEGE ("Pacific Territories Regional Project for Sustainable Ecosystem Management" in French), the project aims to build sustainable development and climate-resilient economies in the overseas countries and territories (OCTs) by emphasising biodiversity and renewable resources.
The outlay has been granted under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF-11) for OCTs and picks up where the SPC-coordinated and EDF-10-funded INTEGRE project left off. The project will build on the work already accomplished and continue efforts to sustainably manage and natural resources in the Eurpean territories of New Caledonia, Pitcairn, French Polynesia and Wallis & Futuna. New Caledonia is the EDF-11 authorising officer for the Pacific OCTs.
"The OCT regional programme budget has tripled in terms of the previous EDF. This is a clear signal from Europe which believes that the territories should work together to overcome common issues with the support and expertise of the regional organisations who will be leading the project," said EU Delegation for the Pacific Head of Cooperation, Christoph Wagner.
The expected outcomes include a transition to sustainable integrated agriculture and sound forestry resource management; sustainable fisheries and aquaculture management that is integrated in and adapted to island economies; sustainable integrated water resource management; and invasive alien species control, all against a backdrop of climate-change hazards that require ecosystem and biodiversity protection, resilience and restoration. "SPC has been working on the nexus between climate change and biodiversity for years. This renewed partnership with the European Union under EDF-11 shows that we are building our action over the long term and developing a genuine Pacific model for sustainable development., " said SPC Director General, Dr. Colin Tukuitonga. "SPREP is looking forward progressing this important project in partnership with the overseas territories and partners. The invasive species component will provide many urgently required outcomes to prepare the territories for climate change and facilitate the sharing of technical skills and knowledge with the rest of the Pacific through the Pacific Invasive Learning Network," added SPREP Director General, Mr. Kosi Latu.
EDF-11's assistance strategy is in perfect keeping with the sustainable development support frameworks including the Cancun Declaration, Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals. The activities in the territories will focus on turning local initiatives into sustainable public policies, while the regional activities are intended to expand the overall assistance strategy by pooling experience and know-how and sharing achievements with other stakeholders in the Pacific region, particularly through synergies with other development projects in Pacific ACP countries. PROTEGE will also promote gender equality in all funded projects.
PROTEGE will be co-funded by the territories and relevant partners and institutions and it will be implemented by SPC and SPREP. SPC will serve as the lead coordinating and implementing body for the agricultural, fisheries and water components, while SPREP will be co-delegate for the invasive-species component.