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By Kosi Latu, SPREP Director General
We live in unprecedented times where it is not just the Pacific region but the whole world that sits on the cusp of a new threat that we have not encountered before. Now more than ever, our resiliency as a Pacific people is our solid foundation to empower us all to take the right actions.
We are familiar with the need to prepare for difficult times. Each year many of us face the dangers of the cyclone season, or extreme weather events, and do what we must to keep our families, friends and communities safe.
As a Pacific people we are now using this mindset to prepare ourselves for the impact of coronvavirus Covid-19. We know how to prepare and react when times are difficult, our resiliency makes up our history and as our climate has changed resulting in new and unexpected threats we are adapting to remain resilient people. This is a time when we need to draw upon this for our safety.
We must work with our governments and abide by the special orders and measures put in place. We must also use common sense and change our behaviours, now, so we are safer.
We must follow the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on basic but necessary hygienic practices such as washing our hands the right way, trying not to touch our face, keeping safe distance, staying home if not feeling well – and the list goes on. Please do visit the WHO social media sites or websites to learn more on what to do.
Now is the time we need to come together and show unity in our kindness and compassion. Demonstrate this kindness and compassion by taking these simple steps to keep yourself and those you come into contact with, safe.
At the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), we put our people first.
The safety and health of our staff is the top priority and as such we have put measures in place to ensure this is secured while maintaining services for our Pacific.
Our organisation is trialling remote working facilities which has proven successful. Staff travel has been culled right back, and for our SPREP family and the few people that were caught in between the health and travel advisories issued throughout the region – we are in constant contact with them and providing as much support as possible so they feel, and are, safe.
This is a challenging time for many that live away from their homes and family, so at all times we are doing what we can so our team has peace of mind.
We have postponed key regional events that were scheduled across our Pacific islands region, until further notice.
We understand our Members are also working on the ground to address the challenges of Covid-19 as well as maintaining normalcy of life where possible to avoid panic and hysteria. We continue to be available to our Members, to remotely provide support to maintain the resilience of Pacific people and environment.
In this era of internet technology, our continued support and services will remain in place, but with limited and reduced capacity for our Members and Partners, noting restrictions on inter-country movement placed by respective governments to protect citizens and our region as a whole.
We stand in solidarity with you all at this time. May you all keep safe and well.”
Kosi Latu, Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)
Pacific Islands News Association
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