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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 7, 1997


I transmit herewith, for the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, the Agreement Establishing the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, done at Apia on June 16, 1993 ("the Agreement"). The report of the Department of State with respect to the Agreement is attached for the information of the Senate.

The South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) has existed for almost 15 years to promote cooperation in the South Pacific region, to protect and improve the South Pacific environment and to ensure sustainable development in that region. Prior to the Agreement, SPREP had the status of an informal institution housed within the South Pacific Commission. When this institutional arrangement began to prove inefficient, the United States and the nations of the region negotiated the Agreement to allow SPREP to become an intergovernmental organization in its own right and enhance its ability to promote cooperation among its members.

The Agreement was concluded in June 1993 and entered into force in August 1995. Nearly every nation -- except the United States -- that has participated in SPREP and in the negotiation of the Agreement is now party to the Agreement. As a result, SPREP now enjoys a formal institutional status that allows it to deal more effectively with the pressing environmental concerns of the region. The United States and its territories can only participate in its activities as official observers.

The Agreement improves the ability of SPREP to serve the interests of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam. Its ratification is supported by our territories and will demonstrate continued United States commitment to, and concern for, the South Pacific region.

Under its terms, the Agreement entered into force on August 31, 1995. To date, Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, France, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Western Samoa have become parties to the Agreement.

I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Agreement and give its advice and consent to ratification.


       November 7, 1997.

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