APIA, SAMOA: THURSDAY 16 JUNE 2016: Over 100 students visited the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) Campus today in Samoa helping to celebrate SPREP Day which is commemorated on 16 June of each year.
It was 23 years ago in 1993 that the signing of the agreement establishing SPREP took place however SPREP’s origins go further back to the late 1970’s, first with one staff member and meetings, then with staff based in New Caledonia, then moving to Samoa in Vaitele, to where the SPREP Campus is based today in Vailima with 100 staff members.
Four schools nearby SPREP visited the compound as part of today’s special commemorations to learn more about the work undertaken by SPREP and the different issues in biodiversity, waste and pollution, environmental monitoring and climate change.
“As we commemorate our historical start, we must look now to the future as we work in our Pacific region with you, to help make a stronger environment for you – our future,” said Mr Kosi Latu, Director General of SPREP as he addressed the students today.
“No one is too young or too old to play their part in caring for our surroundings. Simple actions such as sorting and recycling your rubbish or disposing of it responsibly, or even taking care of our biodiversity by caring for native plants and birds – there are many things that we can all do.”
Students and teachers of Avele and Leifiifi Colleges as well as Vailima Primary and Vaiala Beach School spent the morning at the SPREP Campus, inspired by the words of the SPREP Youth Ambassador, Ms. Brianna Fruean.
“Every book in these offices, every pamphlet in the library and every meeting document in the server wouldn’t be able to turn into actual future change without our future generations involved. That’s you and me. We have so much to protect because we have so much to lose,” said Ms. Fruean as she welcomed the students and teachers to SPREP today.
“Today’s SPREP open day could be the day things change for you, it could be the day you become a trailblazer and it could be the day you take your first step as the generation who changes everything.”
The students spent time within the four divisions of SPREP – Climate Change, Biodiversity and Ecosystems Management, Waste Management and Pollution Control, and Environmental Monitoring and Guidance. This was followed by snacks and a session with the SPREP Corporate Services team.
“I really liked the library,” said Ms. Manuia Penani, 10 years old of Vailima Primary school
“The library and learning about recycling was the best!” Said Mr Simona May, 8 years old of Vaiala Beach School.
“The best part of today was learning about whales and how we must protect the oceans too,” said Ms. Helen Tiufea, 15 years old of Leifiifi College.
“I liked every section but the best part for me was learning about snakes and that not all varieties were poisonous,” said Mr Misela Leuluniu, 16 years old of Avele College.
While this year, SPREP commemorated their special Day with visits from nearby schools, next year the organisation plans to hold a larger event much like that of 2015, of which close to 500 school students of Samoa visited the SPREP Campus.
As SPREP Director General Kosi Latu shared with the students today – “You are important to us, as it’s you who will hold the future of our Pacific environment in your hands.”
Happy SPREP Day! – #SPREPDay