At the groundbreaking ceremony in Samoa on Friday 11 May, from left to right : Hon. Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa; Leota Kosi Latu, Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP); His Excellency Maugaoleatuolo Shinya Aoki, Ambassador of Japan to Samoa; and Project Manager for Konoike, the international Japanese construction firm who will be building the Centre.
” The construction of the Pacific Climate Change Centre is now open,” said Prime Minister of Samoa Hon Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi. The Centre, which is the first ever for the Pacific region, could be ready as soon as July next year.
The Pacific Climate Change Centre (PCCC) will be the regional hub of excellence for climate change information, research and innovation.
Leota Kosi Latu, Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme said the Centre “will be a major asset in SPREP’s contribution to the Pacific region in terms of effective climate action and most importantly, in meeting the expectations of Members that such action will progress national efforts to achieve their climate change priorities.”
The centre’s construction is a partnership between the Government of Japan who are funding the construction and the Government of Samoa, the country where the regional centre will be located.
Konoike, the Japanese construction company responsible for the build which is expected to cost under $8Million USD, has an international and domestic track record which includes some of Japan’s hospitals, libraries, universities, museums, sewage facilities, dams, as well as the country’s embassies and multiple infrastructure projects around the world.
Sustainable building principles will be applied to the construction including the use of solar panels to power at least 50 percent of the energy needed. The Centre is intended to be a showcase of sustainable building technology in the Pacific. It is hoped that it will be powered 100 percent by renewable energy in the future.
Japan’s Ambassador to Samoa said all agree on the need to take a holistic and long-term approach to addressing climate change.
“To this end, Japan intends to provide comprehensive assistance, in collaboration with the lead agency on climate change in the Pacific Region, SPREP, including the development of the PCCC and capacity-building which supports the efforts for tackling climate change by the Pacific region as a whole, ” said His Excellency Maugaoleatuolo Shinya Aoki.
The groundbreaking ceremony also commemorated the 25 Year Anniversary of SPREP since it was set up in 1993 as an independent organisation based in Samoa.
Leota Kosi Latu, Director-General of SPREP paid tribute to the pivotal role that Samoa’s Prime Minister played in SPREP’s establishment “and the provision of a place for SPREP to proudly stand in the Pacific among its Members.
“Secondly, as the region’s foremost champion for the need of a Pacific Climate Change Centre, and thirdly as the principal host of the Centre, here in Samoa on the SPREP campus,” said Leota.
The groundbreaking ceremony and anniversary was attended by Samoa’s development partners, government leaders and the Pacific Community (SPC – formerly known as the Secretariat for the Pacific Community).