NES Senior Compliance Officer Matthew Rima attended an Ad-Hoc meeting of the Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Natural Resources and the Environment of the South Pacific Region and its related Protocols (Noumea Convention). The meeting was held last month in Apia and was organized by the Secretariat of the Pacific Environment Programme (SPREP).
The Noumea Convention is an international treaty that aims to protect and preserve the environment and natural resources of the South Pacific region. The Cook Islands is a signatory to the convention together with eleven other Pacific member states.
The parties firstly reflected on the need to amend or change the Noumea Convention. It was acknowledged that the Noumea Convention is an important agreement as it is the only multilateral umbrella agreement in the Pacific that protects natural resources. It was discussed that the Convention can address contemporary environmental challenges like climate change and ocean governance. The relationship between the Noumea Convention and the SPREP Strategic Plan is covered in the areas of waste management, pollution, environmental impact assessment and ocean management. However, some areas need to be incorporated like climate change, ecosystem-based management and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Furthermore, the parties discussed ways to increase awareness of the Noumea Convention. This included the need for the Noumea Convention to be profiled in other SPREP engagements and stronger reporting and monitoring mechanisms. The need for better coordination and cooperation between stakeholders was noted, including work in other areas i.e., negotiations on new global plastic treaty, Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ), Deep Sea Mining (DSM) and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP).
These discussions set the stage for greater cooperation and concerted efforts to drive progress towards the goals of the Noumea Convention.