The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), based in Samoa, will be home for two students from the School of Environment located in Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, over the next four months.
The two students, Ms. Chang Wang and Ms Qiying Kuang, marked the beginning of their assignments with SPREP with a visit to the Chinese Ambassador to Samoa, Her Excellency Li Yanduan. Both students will be based in SPREP’s Waste Management Division as part of their work attachment to help them complete their dissertations.
These are the first Chinese nationals ever to work at SPREP in its 40 year history and this is thus a significant landmark for cooperation between the Chinese Government and SPREP.
Both students are part of the Global Environmental Programme at one of the most prestigious universities in China. The programme focuses on environmental international cooperation and the two were selected as the top achieving students of the programme.
“It is the intention that Chinese nationals can assist and learn about Pacific environment issues. The focus of this cooperation between our government and SPREP is to provide some assistance in specific environmental areas. We would like to contribute more to Pacific environmental issues through funding sources or through providing expertise in further collaboration,” said Ambassador Yanduan.
The Director of the SPREP Waste Management Division, Dr David Haynes, explained that the two students would be working on specific projects within the Division.
“Ms Kuang will be providing an analysis of the relative benefits and synergies between the Waigani, Basel and Minimata Conventions, while Ms Wang will develop a background paper and position statement for the Pacific region on waste to energy options,” he said.
“We are very pleased that they selected working in Samoa, at SPREP, as their destination of choice.”
Mr David Sheppard, the Director General of SPREP, added, “The work attachment would also give the students a broad view of SPREP and its work in the region, further strengthening the cooperation between the Government of China and SPREP.”
The Government of China has been an active supporter of SPREP’s work since 2003, and recently donated USD150,000 to help further SPREP’s role in addressing environmental issues in the Pacific region.