SPREP appoints new Director

13/10/2009 08:35

APIA - The new Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) began his term this week, welcomed back into the organisation for which he has worked before.

 Mr. David Sheppard has over 30 years experience in the conservation and environment field at the national, regional and international levels.  This extensive experience involves working with more than 50 countries on a range of aspects relating to protected areas, conservation and natural resource management.  

 His wealth of experience includes having worked at SPREP during the 1980’s on a number of short term training and capacity building activities as well as helping to organise the 1985 South Pacific Regional Protected Areas Conference in Apia .  

 Mr. Sheppard was also the Team Leader for SPREP’s innovative Regional Environment Management Project from 1990 to 1993, which resulted in the development and implementation of National Environmental Strategies in a number of Pacific countries. 

 “It’s great to be back at SPREP,” said the new SPREP Director.

 “When I was last here it was a very small organisation. SPREP has now grown into a much larger entity with a wider scope and I think that’s positive because it reflects the interest of the Pacific Islands countries in protecting and enhancing their environment while recognising that environment protection cannot be separated from the livelihoods of people.”

Prior to beginning his term at the helm of SPREP, Mr. Sheppard was the Head of IUCN’s Programme on Protected Areas with responsibility for directing the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Global Programme on Protected Areas based in Switzerland .  When with IUCN he also provided leadership and direction for the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) – the world’s leading network of protected area specialists.

He looks forward to working with the Pacific island countries and territories to strengthen the environmental efforts from SPREP in the region.

“I’d like SPREP to be seen as the leading and clearly effective body for protecting the environment and thus enhancing livelihoods of people.  I very much see SPREP working in partnership with other key bodies and I see its fundamental role in life is to make sure it is delivering outcomes that are useful for the countries of the Pacific.”

 “We have to make sure we are listening to the needs of our Pacific island Members and that we are responding effectively.”

 Mr. Sheppard’s start with SPREP comes during a touching moment for the Pacific islands, in the wake of the tsunami tragedy which has struck member countries American Samoa , Tonga and Samoa . 

 The Secretariat headquarters is based in Samoa and several members of the staff have been directly affected by the tragedy. During the welcoming of Mr. Sheppard and his family, the organisation paid tribute to those affected by observing a minute of silence in remembrance.

 We’re deeply saddened and my family and I offer our condolences to all of the victims in Samoa as well as in American Samoa and Tonga . We offer in particular, our sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones during this time.”

“I think as far as SPREP is concerned we’ll look at whatever we can do that’s practical and useful to support the families and government of Samoa at this difficult time.”

For more details please contact SPREP’s Associate Media and Publications Officer Ms. Nanette Woonton E:nanettew@sprep.org T: (685) 21929 F: (685) 20231 W: www.sprep.org