14 Nov 2003

SPREP set for 2004 conference in French Polynesia

4:48 pm on 14 November 2003

The UN's regional environment body, SPREP, says next year's annual conference will for the first time be held in the French-speaking Pacific.

SPREP says the meeting will be tentatively held in July at the invitation of French Polynesia government and comes amid France's moves to integrate its territories in regional bodies.

It also follows a commitment by France to contribute two million US dollars towards a Coral Reef protection initiative.

A spokesman for SPREP, Chris Peteru, says the meeting, which will involve all regional members as well as Australia, New Zealand, France and the US, will take up changes instituted this year.

"The general task will be to continue with the work which we've initiated now at this 14th meeting where there are several major changes to the way that we've operate. For example, we've moved away from being project based to a more programme orientated approach in the way we work because we felt this offered more flexibility for the region."

Chris Peteru .