WASHINGTON, DC: Two global civil society organizations, Conservation International (CI) and the World Wildlife Fund-US  (WWF-US) can now directly access funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) under a decision welcomed today by the GEF's governing Council.
The decision marks an important milestone in the 22-year history of the GEF. For the first time, civil society organizations can directly access GEF funding for environmental projects without having to go through another GEF agency. The approval given to CI and WWF-US by an independent GEF Accreditation Panel comes after a rigorous assessment confirmed that they meet the GEF's fiduciary standards and environmental and social safeguards. A review process considering applications by other organizations to become GEF Project Agencies is underway. [Read More]


New report offers insights into climate change in Samoa

APIA: The landmark, peer-reviewed publication, Climate Change in the Pacific: Scientific Assessment and New Research, presents the most comprehensive scientific analysis to date of climate change in the Pacific region. The research was produced as part of the Australian Government’s three year Pacific Climate Change Science Program (PCCSP). The first volume of the report provides a regional overview. The second volume contains individual reports for 15 countries including a report on the past, current and possible future climate of Samoa. This was a collaborative effort between the Samoa Meteorology Division and Australian scientists. Read More



Samoa to host SIDS Global Conference 2014

Samoa will host the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Global Conference 2014. At a New York reception held at the Fiji Mission to the United Nations in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, the Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Fiji, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, in the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Nauru, Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Papua New Guinea, Chair of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) and other Pacific representatives, agreed that Samoa will host the SIDS Global Conference in 2014 and Fiji will host the preparatory meetings for the conference. [Photo: Stuart Chape] Read More


New Insight Into Climate Change in the Pacific

ScienceDaily — New research providing critical information about how climate change is affecting Australia's Pacific island neighbours and East Timor has just been released by the Australian Government's Pacific Climate Change Science Program (PCCSP). [Photo: Stuart Chape] The landmark, peer-reviewed publication, Climate Change in the Pacific: Scientific Assessment and New Research, presents the most comprehensive scientific analysis to date of climate change in the Pacific region.

Co-editor of the report, the Bureau of Meteorology's Dr Scott Power, said the findings would be presented at an event during the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference being held from next week in Durban, South Africa.Read More


Lack of Sleep Is Linked to Obesity, New Evidence Shows

ScienceDaily (Apr. 17, 2012) — Can lack of sleep make you fat? A new paper which reviews the evidence from sleep restriction studies reveals that inadequate sleep is linked to obesity. The research, published in a special issue of the The American Journal of Human Biology, explores how lack of sleep can impact appetite regulation, impair glucose metabolism and increase blood pressure. More Here


Samoas energy advances highlighted in Barbados

By Cherelle Jackson

BRIDGETOWN: Advances made by Samoa on renewable energy measures were highlighted this week in Barbados at the High-Level Conference of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Titled: “Achieving Sustainable Energy for All,” the meeting brought together participants from SIDS energy and environment sectors, which included three delegates from Samoa.
Speaking to the conference yesterday, Taito Faale Tumaali Faamoetauloa, Minister of Natural Resource and Environment (MNRE) emphasised on the progress made by Samoa in ensuring sustainable energy. Read More.

Tokelau aims for 100% renewable energy in 2012

Pacific Island Countries are among the most petroleum-dependent nations and territories in the world. However, Tokelau, a group of 3 small atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, will be the first to meet its electricity needs entirely through renewable energy by the end of 2012.

Tokelau has a total land area of 10 square kilometres and a population of around 1400. Its small size, isolation and lack of natural resources are all restraints on its development. Worse, it has to spend approximately NZ$1million (approx. US$ 800,000) annually on imported fossil fuels.

In 2001, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) started to work with the Taupulega’s – the village councils on each atoll - in the area of sustainable energy. With funding and technical assistance from UNDP, the first Tokelau National Energy Policy and Strategic Action Plan was endorsed by the government in 2004. Its primary objective was to make Tokelau energy independent through the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. In partnership with France, New Zealand and UNESCO, UNDP supported various preparatory work including resource assessment, feasibility and design studies and the implementation of a solar system pilot demonstration. The organization contributed around US$450,000 and significant technical support during 11 years. Recently the Government of Tokelau succeeded in leveraging approximately NZ$8.5 million (US$ 6.8 million) in grants and soft loans from New Zealand for the project.

The new solar plant is planned to become operational in September 2012.. Around 4,032 solar panels and batteries will be installed across all the three atolls of Tokelau, making the plant one of the largest standalone solar system in the world. The plant will provide 24-hour high quality electricity supply for all islanders, eliminating diesel use, and even produce surplus electricity to allow Tokelaunans to expand on their energy use.

During periods of prolonged cloud cover generators that run on coconut oil will supply power and simultaneously recharge the battery bank.

This hybrid solar-coconut oil system will enable Tokelau to be self-reliant for its electricity needs and be more energy secure, and set it on a carbon-free development path. It will also create employment opportunities and help the local population generate additional income. More importantly, the amount spent annually on the import of fossil fuel will be spared to support social benefits for the islanders.

Tokelau’s ambitious goal could not be achieved without the sustained commitment of the government supported by its development partners, including UNDP. The government’s long-term determination has been pivotal in overcoming barriers along the way – such as the 25-30 hours boat journey from Samoa to Tokelau to transport materials and other resources.

Tokelau will be the first Small Island Developing State to obtain 100% renewable energy by 2012, while Tuvalu and Cook Islands aim at 2020.

 UNCSD Prep Comm Pacific meets in Samoa

The UN Conference for Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) Subregional Preparatory Committee for Pacific Countries, convened in Apia, Samoa, on 22 July.   

During the morning session participants discussed global and Pacific regional preparations for Rio+20. Participants then considered green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, focusing on greening the economy in a blue world.
During the afternoon session participants examined institutional frameworks for implementing sustainable development in the Pacific region. Delegates heard presentations on national institutional frameworks for sustainable development, resources for transforming economies, including through climate financing, and on regional partnerships.   

During the closing session, UN ESCAP introduced an outcome document containing recommendations on the green economy and IFSD. Delegates agreed to adopt the document “in principle,” noting countries could provide comments until 30 July 2011. The meeting closed at 4:49pm. (ENB)

On Nauru, a Sinking Feeling

Published: July 18, 2011

Yaren, Nauru - I forgive you if you have never heard of Nauru — but you will not forgive yourselves if you ignore our story. At just 8 square miles, about a third of the size of Manhattan, and located in the southern Pacific Ocean, Nauru appears as merely a pinpoint on most maps — if it is not missing entirely in a vast expanse of blue.

But make no mistake; we are a sovereign nation, with our own language, customs and history dating back 3,000 years. Nauru is worth a quick Internet search, I assure you, for not only will you discover a fascinating country that is often overlooked, you will find an indispensible cautionary tale about life in a place with hard ecological limits.

Phosphate mining, first by foreign companies and later our own, cleared the lush tropical rainforest that once covered our island’s interior, scarring the land and leaving only a thin strip of coastline for us to live on. The legacy of exploitation left us with few economic alternatives and one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, and led previous governments to make unwise investments that ultimately squandered our country’s savings.

I am not looking for sympathy, but rather warning you what can happen when a country runs out of options. The world is headed down a similar path with the relentless burning of coal and oil, which is altering the planet’s climate, melting ice caps, making oceans more acidic and edging us ever closer to a day when no one will be able to take clean water, fertile soil or abundant food for granted.

Climate change also threatens the very existence of many countries in the Pacific, where the sea level is projected to rise three feet or more by the end of the century. Already, Nauru’s coast, the only habitable area, is steadily eroding, and communities in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands have been forced to flee their homes to escape record tides. The low-lying nations of Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands may vanish entirely within our grandchildren’s lifetimes.

Similar climate stories are playing out on nearly every continent, where a steady onslaught of droughts, floods and heat waves, which are expected to become even more frequent and intense with climate change, have displaced millions of people and led to widespread food shortages.

The changes have already heightened competition over scarce resources, and could foreshadow life in a world where conflicts are increasingly driven by environmental catastrophes.

Yet the international community has not begun to prepare for the strain they will put on humanitarian organizations or their implications for political stability around the world.

In 2009, an initiative by the Pacific Small Island Developing States, of which I am chairman, prompted the United Nations General Assembly to recognize the link between climate change and security. But two years later, no concrete action has been taken.

So I was pleased to learn that the United Nations Security Council will take up the issue tomorrow in an open debate, in which I will have the opportunity to address the body and reiterate my organization’s proposals.

First, the Security Council should join the General Assembly in recognizing climate change as a threat to international peace and security. It is a threat as great as nuclear proliferation or global terrorism. Second, a special representative on climate and security should be appointed. Third, we must assess whether the United Nations system is itself capable of responding to a crisis of this magnitude.

The stakes are too high to implement these measures only after a disaster is already upon us. Negotiations to reduce emissions should remain the primary forum for reaching an international agreement. We are not asking for blue helmets to intervene; we are simply asking the international community to plan for the biggest environmental and humanitarian challenge of our time.

Nauru has begun an intensive program to restore the damage done by mining, and my administration has put environmental sustainability at the center of our policymaking. Making our island whole again will be a long and difficult process, but it is our home and we cannot leave it for another one.




Tsunami impacts on marine environment

17/10/2009 00:53
By Cherelle Jackson  APIA - The Samoa Tsunami Rapid Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) conducted last week concluded in some areas affected, there was significant impact on the marine environment. Conducted by the United Nations, Conservation International and the Secretariat of the Pacific...

Killer earthquakes shake scientific thought

13/10/2009 08:41
By Talek Harris (AFP) SYDNEY — A sudden cluster of massive earthquakes which has shaken Asia-Pacific communities and likely left thousands dead has also jolted some scientists, who are starting to question conventional thought. Experts who dismissed notions that far-away quakes could be linked are...

SPREP appoints new Director

13/10/2009 08:35
APIA - The new Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) began his term this week, welcomed back into the organisation for which he has worked before.  Mr. David Sheppard has over 30 years experience in the conservation and environment field at the...

Blaming developing countries, poor excuse for climate copmlacency

13/10/2009 07:37
Climate negotiations stuck: US becoming key obstacle on the road to Copenhagen BANGKOK-  The rift between rich and poor countries has intensified because rich countries have not put serious money on the table to help poor countries adapt to the escalating impacts of climate change and develop...

Apia panics during tsunami warning

13/10/2009 07:36
APIA - What previously was a joke and an obligatory excercise of adhering to tsunami warnings, was yesterday taken very seriously by residents of Apia town area. Thousands reacted immediately after alarm went off in the town of Apia. The traffic was at a stand still as members of the public...

Samoa plans mass burial; at least 180 feared dead

08/10/2009 07:37
  By Cherelle Jackson (AFP) APIA, Samoa -- Samoa is planning a mass burial for victims of the tsunami that devastated the Pacific island earlier this week, the government said, as the death toll from the disaster crept towards 200. google_protectAndRun("render_ads.js::google_render_ad",...

Disease outbreaks feared in tsunami zone

07/10/2009 07:48
 By Cherelle Jackson in Apia Article from:  Agence France-Presse FEARS of deadly outbreaks of disease in tsunami-battered Samoa mounted today, as frightened survivors sheltering on higher ground refused to return to their beachfront villages. As roads and beaches were cleared of debris...

Woman clings to tree as tsunami washes through

05/10/2009 04:38
  By Cherelle Jackson   LEPA, Samoa - Kalolo Punefu, is a fortunate woman, her husband and her 13 children all survived the tsunami. Mrs Punefu, a school teacher, was walking to school when the tsunami hit her village. "I ran to the closest big tree and hugged it because it was too late...

Tsunami Hits Samoa, Wipes Out Village

04/10/2009 04:28
By Patrick Barta WSJ - Victims of the tsunami that swept across the South Pacific on Tuesday often had only minutes to escape the deadly waves and in some cases didn't receive alerts of danger, despite years of work to upgrade early-warning systems across the region. At least 119 people were...

Samoa's Prime Minister in grief as nation mourns

03/10/2009 04:36
By Cherelle Jackson APIA – Samoa's Prime Minister Hon. Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi was near tears last night as he addressed his nation. "The winds have uttered their strength, earth has spoken their grief and the wave has scattered it's strength," Tuilaepa said in Chiefly language. In...

Australian tsunami death toll rises

03/10/2009 04:31
  By Cherelle Jackson   AFP - LALOMANU, Samoa - Aid is on its way to the Samoan islands after a tsunami flattened villages and killed more than 100. Another Australian child has been killed by the tsunami in Samoa. A 15-month-old boy is the latest victim, taking the Australian death...

Dozens dead, villages flattened in Samoa quake, tsunami

02/10/2009 04:35
APIA(AFP) - At least 36 people were killed when an 8.0-magnitude earthquake and devastating tsunami hit the remote Pacific islands of Samoa and American Samoa Tuesday, wiping out tourist resorts and villag Buildings were toppled and thousands of people fled to higher ground after the offshore...

At least 113 die in tsunami

30/09/2009 04:26
By Cherelle Jackson APIA (AFP) – Dozens of aftershocks rocked the South Pacific Wednesday, 24 hours after a huge earthquake churned up towering tsunamis that killed at least 113 people when they wiped out villages and flattened tourist resorts. Huge waves that witnesses and officials said...

Making climate change a sexy story

23/09/2009 18:15
By Cherelle Jackson APIA - Climate change stories rarely make front page and breaking news in the Pacific, at least not locally generated news items. But all that could change, with more investment by environmental organisations into the specialised training of journalists with an interest in...

Pacific met services boosted by Finland

23/09/2009 18:14
By Cherelle Jackson APIA --- More than two million tala will be invested into improving meteorological services of Pacific island nations in the next three years. The assistance comes from the Foreign Ministry of the Government of Finland, who says that is just their way of being a responsible...

Ozone hole shrinking

23/09/2009 18:11
(AFP)--- The World Meteorological Organisation said Wednesday that the ozone hole is expected to be smaller in 2009 than a year ago. "The meteorological conditions observed so far could indicate that the 2009 ozone hole will be smaller than those of 2006 and 2008 and close to that of 2007," said...

Paradigm shift needed in adaptation in Samoa

21/09/2009 07:37
By Cherelle Jackson APIA- Living for each day, to ensure there is food on the table and the whole family is fed, is how the majority of Samoans operate. But such an attitude may need a little shift with the visible impacts of climate change albeit gradual in it’s appearance. Climate Change Officer...

Condom shortage said to worsen climate impact

21/09/2009 07:36
By Jim Efstathiou Jr. (Bloomberg) -- Unwanted pregnancies in poor countries have led to higher demand for land and water, resources already taxed by climate change, according to research to be published by the World Health Organization. Runaway population growth in countries such as Ethiopia and...
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