The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) has developed a State of the Environment (SoE) report for the Pacific islands, the first of its kind. It reveals areas of progress as a result of conservation efforts, as well outstanding and newly emerging issues.

The report, which will be formally released on 29 April 2021, is titled, ‘State of Environment and Conservation in the Pacific Islands: 2020 Regional Report’ (SOEC). Readers can explore an online version or download it in its entirety from the SPREP website. The report focuses on 31 indicators, based on a list of SPREP-approved regional indicators, spanning seven thematic areas: environmental governance; land; coastal and marine; conservation and protection; biodiversity; atmosphere and climate; and built environment.

The SOEC contains an assessment of the trends and conditions of the environment to better inform decision making at the regional level. The report builds on national SoE reports and other national reports and data, and uses in-country cases as examples.

The report shows that the trend for establishing marine protected areas is good and improving, and while the establishment of terrestrial protected areas is poor, it is also seeing an upward trend. Management of pelagic fisheries is good and stable, whereas areas related to marine pollution, invasive species, and protection of key biodiversity areas and species require urgent attention.

The report aims to aid efforts to provide accurate environmental reporting. Specifically, information from the report will be used to identify regional successes and to assess progress against global commitments such as the SDGs, the Aichi targets, National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs), and the Paris Agreement on climate change, as well as to identify where further efforts are needed.

SPREP Director General Kosi Latu described the goal of the report as “to ensure an accurate picture of the state of environment and conservation in the region” in order to “inform appropriate and sustainable actions to improve the state of environment and conservation … for the betterment of our Pacific peoples and community.”

The report’s lead author is Tiffany Straza. [Publication: State of Environment and Conservation in the Pacific Islands: 2020 Regional Report] [SPREP Circular 19/44 on Indicator-based Reporting for Regional State of Environment and Conservation Reporting for Oceania] [SPREP Circular 20/69 on Indicator-based Reporting for the Regional State of Environment and Conservation Report] [Pacific Environment Portal]

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This policy brief was authored by Dina Hestad, Ph.D., Thematic Expert for SDGs and Small Island Developing States.

This story was made possible with funding support from the Government of Sweden through the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and was developed with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) using the Pacific Environment Portal, which enables users to find, access, and use regional and national data. The portal has been developed by the regional UNEP-GEF Inform project executed by SPREP, which has established national environment data portals in 14 Pacific island countries to help address the challenges of storing and accessing data. The online database of information and datasets aims to help improve decision making and reporting on the environment.