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South Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP): Third meeting of the conference of parties to the convention for the protection of the natural resources and environment of the South Pacific region



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DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE

Ov, A U S T R A L I A N

NEWS RELEASE

D54 . 9 October 1995

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SOUTH PACIFIC REGIONAL ENVIRONMENT PROGRAM (SPREP): THIRD MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF PARTIES TO THE CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC REGION

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Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Natural Resources and Environment of the South Pacific Region (Noumea Convention) have issued a strong call to France, which is also a party to the Convention, to recognise its obligations under the Convention in the light of continuing French nuclear tests in the region.

At a meeting held in Apia on 7 October, Australia, New Zealand, Western Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Federated States of Micronesia and Fiji - all of them States Parties to the Noumea Convention - drew attention to France's obligations as a party to the Convention to ensure that its activities in relation to nuclear testing did not cause damage to the environment.

The Parties in particular drew attention to France's obligations under the Convention to conduct a prior assessment of the potential impact on the marine environment of major projects such as nuclear tests, in consultation with other Parties who may be

affected, and to make the results of these assessments available to other Parties through SPREP.

The meeting also called on France to undertake other measures including: • to cease immediately nuclear testing in the South Pacific; • to give a firm and unequivocal commitment to sign and ratify the protocols of the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone (SPNFZ) treaty; • to make available to the international community all relevant French scientific

data and studies; • to investigate the short and long term environmental and health effects of nuclear testing at Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls; • to undertake long-term environmental monitoring there, the design and

implementation of which should be open to international scrutiny; • and to accept full and exclusive responsibility for remediation or compensation as might be necessary, for any adverse impacts, past, present, or future, from French nuclear testing on the environment and health of the peoples of the South Pacific.

For further information: Stephen Etheridge, Director, Multilateral South Pacific Section, DFAT on (06) 261 2840.