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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.