SOUTH PACIFIC ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME AGREEMENTSenate Consideration of Treaty Document 105-32
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- Agreement Establishing the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, done at Apia on June 16, 1993.
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[Senate Treaty Document 105-32] [From the U.S. Government Publishing Office] 105th Congress Treaty Doc. SENATE 1st Session 105-32 _______________________________________________________________________ SOUTH PACIFIC REGIONAL ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME AGREEMENT __________ MESSAGE from THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES transmitting AGREEMENT ESTABLISHING THE SOUTH PACIFIC REGIONAL ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME, DONE AT APIA ON JUNE 16, 1993 November 7, 1997.--Agreement was read the first time and, together with the accompanying papers, referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations and ordered to be printed for the use of the Senate LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL ---------- The White House, November 7, 1997. To the Senate of the United States: 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. William J. Clinton. LETTER OF SUBMITTAL ---------- Department of State, Washington, October 21, 1997. The President, The White House. The President: I have the honor to submit to you the Agreement Establishing the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (``the Agreement''), done at Apia, Western Samoa, on June 16, 1993, and signed by the United States on that day. The Agreement, which entered into force on August 31, 1995, provides for increased cooperation among the United States, Australia, New Zealand, France and twenty-two island States and territories of the South Pacific region in addressing issues affecting environment and development in the region. The Agreement accords the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) formal status as an intergovernmental organization. SPREP originated at the Conference on the Human Environment in the South Pacific held at Rarotonga, Cook Islands, March 1982, as an informal institution housed within the South Pacific Commission (SPC). As such, it was tied to the Regional Seas Program of the United Nations Environment Program, and was supported by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, as well as by the South Pacific Forum and the South Pacific Conference. In July 1991, the members of SPREP agreed to negotiate a treaty establishing SPREP as an autonomous intergovernmental organization. Autonomy was viewed as an important step in maintaining and improving SPREP's ability to serve its members, particularly in light of serious logistical constraints that had emerged as a result of SPREP's co-location with the SPC in Noumea, New Caledonia. The Agreement was concluded at a Plenipotentiary Conference held in Apia, Western Samoa, June 14-16, 1993. The United States and its insular areas now participate in SPREP as observers. It is the view of the interested Departments and Agencies of the United States Government, as well as of American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, that United States' interests would be best served by moving rapidly to become a Party to the Agreement, which entered into force on August 31, 1995. The Agreement provides for cooperative activities of direct and positive benefits to American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam. By becoming a Party, the United States will promote more effective participation in regional activities by United States insular areas, who share both the culture and the concerns of many of the island States and territories of the region. It will also demonstrate the continued commitment of the United States to the South Pacific and to working with the region to protect and conserve the marine environment that we share. Article 1 of the Agreement establishes SPREP as an intergovernmental organization, with a regular conference of participants (``the SPREP Meeting'') and a secretariat located in Apia, Western Samoa. Prior to the Agreement, participants in SPREP met on an annual basis at locations that rotated among them. As a result of the Agreement, participants have agreed, as a way to reduce costs, to meet instead on a biennial basis, with alternate meetings to be held at the Secretariat in Apia. The purposes of SPREP, as set forth in Article 2 of the Agreement, include the promotion of cooperation in the South Pacific region, the provision of assistance to protect and improve the environment, and the ensurance of sustainable development for present and future generations. SPREP is to achieve these purposes through Action Plans to be adopted from time to time by the SPREPMeeting. Article 2 enumerates several broad components which are to be included in these Action Plans. The Agreement designates the SPREP Meeting as the forum for consultations on matters of common concern, for overseeing SPREP activities and for the adoption and review of the Action Plan. Article 3 of the Agreement provides that membership in the SPREP Meeting is open to Parties to the Agreement and, with the appropriate authorization of the Party responsible for their international relations, to American Samoa, French Polynesia, Guam, New Caledonia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Tokelau and Wallis and Futuna. (Although Article 3 includes Palau in the list of these entities, Palau has since become a sovereign State with responsibility for its own international relations, in accordance with the Compact of Free Association between Palau and the United States.) In accordance with Article 4, the Parties to the Agreement undertake to ensure the full involvement of all Members in the work of the SPREP Meeting, which is to be conducted on the basis of consensus of all SPREP Members, taking into account the practices and procedures of the South Pacific region. If a decision is required in the SPREP Meeting, that decision is to be taken by a consensus of the Parties to the Agreement, with the Parties obligated to consider and take into account the views of all Members. Articles 3 and 4 of the Agreement represent a compromise that resolved difficult issues relating to the role and participation of territories and entities in the region that are not responsible for their own foreign relations. Prior to the negotiation of the Agreement, the informal legal status of SPREP obviated the need to distinguish between independent States and such territories and entities in undertaking SPREP activities. The effort to establish SPREP as a formal intergovernmental organization on the basis of the Agreement raised complicated and sensitive issues of participation and decision-making. Articles 3 and 4, reached after extensive negotiation, reflect the traditions and practices of the South Pacific region, which place great emphasis upon cooperation and consensus. While permitting full participation of territories in the region that are not responsible for their own foreign relations in the SPREP Meeting and in the work of the SPREP Meeting, they comport with generally accepted principles of international law and practice regarding which members ofthe international community may become parties to treaties and which may exercise rights to participate in decision-making. Article 5 addresses SPREP's budget. The article tasks the Director of the SPREP Secretariat with preparing an estimated budget, provides for consensus adoption of the budget and related budgetary questions, and empowers the SPREP Meeting to adopt financial regulations for the administration of SPREP. As envisioned in Article 5, SPREP financial regulations authorize the organization to accept contributions from private and public sources, but do not impose assessed contributions on Parties to the Agreement. The United States has been involved with SPREP since its inception in 1982. Since that time, we have made regular contributions to the upkeep of SPREP and to specific projects implemented under its auspices. All such contributions have been voluntary in nature and subject to fluctuation according to our satisfaction with the activities in question and our ability to contribute. Article 6 makes the SPREP Director the head of the SPREP Secretariat and assigns to the Director certain administrative and managerial tasks. Since the entry into force of the Agreement, the SPREP Meeting has adopted Rules of Procedure which limit the term of SPREP Directors to no more than two consecutive three-year terms. New Directors are appointed upon the recommendation of a SPREP subcommittee. Unless the United States becomes a party to the Agreement, we cannot participate on that subcommittee. Article 7 sets out that the SPREP Secretariat will implement the general activities of SPREP. Among the general responsibilities entrusted to the Secretariat are: implementing the SPREP Action Plan, reporting on progress to SPREP members, carrying out research and studies required to implement the SPREP Action Plan, advising and assisting members with implementation, coordinating with organizations active in the region, gathering and disseminating relevant information, facilitating personnel development and public education, assisting in the use of scientific and technical data, and seeking financial and technical resources for SPREP. Article 8 of the Agreement grants SPREP legal personality with authority necessary to discharge its functions and responsibilities, in particular the capacity to enter into contracts to acquire and dispose of property and to sue and be sued. Privileges and immunities for the officers and employees of SPREP, aswell as for representatives to the SPREP Meeting, are to be those agreed upon between SPREP and the Party in whose territory the Secretariat is located (Western Samoa) and as may be extended by other Parties to the Agreement. Article 9 ensures that nothing in the Agreement may be interpreted as prejudicing the sovereignty of the States over their respective territories, territorial seas, internal or archipelagic waters, or their sovereign rights regarding their respective exclusive economic zones and continental shelves. Pursuant to Article 10, the Agreement was open for signature from June 16, 1993, until June 16, 1994, subject to ratification, acceptance, or approval and thereafter remains open to accession by States either located in the South Pacific Region or having territories in that area. The following are party to the Agreement at this time: Western Samoa, the Republic of Fiji, New Zealand, the Republic of Nauru, the Republic of Kiribati, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, the Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, the Cook Islands, Tonga, the Solomon Islands and France. Article 10 further designates the Government of Western Samoa as Depositary for the Agreement. Reservations to the Agreement are not permitted. Article 11 provides that any Party may propose amendments to the Agreement. Amendments enter into force only after their adoption by consensus of the Parties at the SPREP Meeting and receipt by the Depositary of instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval by all Parties. A Party may withdraw from the Agreement upon one year's notice. I recommend, therefore, that the Agreement Establishing the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) be transmitted to the Senate as soon as possible for its advice and consent to ratification. Respectfully submitted. Madeleine Albright.