SPREP signs Host Country Agreement with Vanuatu

5 June, Port Vila, Vanuatu – On World Environment Day this year, the Government of Vanuatu and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) signed a milestone Host Country Agreement, which will facilitate the in-country implementation of the Pacific Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Climate Change (PEBACC) Project.


The PEBACC project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). This project will help Vanuatu adapt to the impacts of climate change by protecting and restoring the natural resources and ecosystems that support livelihoods and resilience to natural disasters and climate change.


The Host Country Agreement enables SPREP to establish an office and to base SPREP personnel in Vanuatu, in the first instance to manage the PEBACC project but to support other opportunities and activities that may arise to assist the Vanuatu Government.


As well as in Vanuatu, the PEBACC Project will also be implemented in Fiji and Solomon Islands for a total of 5 million Euros over the next five years.


“It is important that we provide support to the Vanuatu government through an on-the-ground presence, and setting up a SPREP office here to implement the project forms part of SPREP’s direct support to Vanuatu’s efforts to adapt to climate change,” said Mr Kosi Latu, the Deputy Director-General of SPREP.


In signing the agreement, Vanuatu’s Minister for Climate Change, Hon. James Bule thanked the Deputy Director General of SPREP for coming Port Vila to sign the agreement.


“We have enjoyed a good partnership with SPREP in the past and we are very glad that Vanuatu has been chosen for this important development project, our hope is that the project will be completed successfully,” said Minister Bule.


The targeted areas for this project in Vanuatu are Port Vila, Efate Island in the Shefa Province, and the Tafea Province on Tanna Island.


The population of Port Vila is expected to double in 16 years raising concerns of the impact and pressure that additional population numbers will have on social economic and environmental issues. Much of Port Vila’s population is located in low lying coastal areas that are very susceptible to erosion, flooding and inundation during storm surges and periods of intense rainfall. The most visible impacts of climate change in and around Port Vila are coastal erosion, flooding, sedimentation from drainage and compromised coastal infrastructure. 


“We feel that the urban EbA approach can help make a difference in alleviating the stresses that will be further exacerbated by climate change,” said Mr. Herman Timmermans, the PEBACC Project Manager.


“We’re excited about the work ahead as we know it will be beneficial for all.”


For the Tafea Province on Tanna Island the Project will focus on a ridge-to-reef approach, including catchment management, forest conservation, and coastal and marine areas in the context of livelihoods and strengthening community resilience. This will help address issues such as severe erosion which has led to the loss of many coastal villages, as well as the increased pressure on land and resources through a growing population.


For further information about this project, contact Mr Herman Timmermans at SPREP: hermant@sprep.org