Australia invests more millions in climate change in Samoa
APIA- Australia has given Samoa $2.3 million (A$1.150 million) as a first tranche of funding to help tackle the impacts of climate change over the next six years. Australia’s assistance will support Samoa’s coordinated approach to monitor the impacts of climate change on health, agriculture and food security, develop adaptation measures for vulnerable communities, including coastal infrastructure and development of early warning systems and to develop viable options for clean and renewable energy.
The funding is delivered under the Samoa-Australia Partnership for Development. Head of AusAID in Samoa, Ian Bignall, officially handed over the funding to the Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Taule’ale’ausumai Tufuisa’a La’avasa Malua today.
“Samoa, like many countries in the Pacific, is very vulnerable to the impact of climate change, given the rising sea levels, flooding, coastal erosion and fragile ecosystems. With this support from Australia, we can take positive steps to manage these impacts for the future development of Samoa and improved livelihood of all Samoans.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Samoa, I extend my thanks to Australia for this additional funding and for its ongoing commitment to help Samoa deal with the impacts of climate change.” said Taule’ale’ausumai Tuifuisa’a La’avasa Malua
Mr Bignall said the climate change funding is the first of many of the activities starting this year from the new Samoa-Australia Partnership for Development which will make a difference to all Samoans.
“Through this new partnership, Australia is providing more long term and effective aid to Samoa to make more rapid progress towards achieving the Millenium Development Goals,” Mr Bignall said.
“In addition to tackling climate change, support is also being provided to private sector growth and employment (including agricultural development and regional economic integration) and improving health, education and governance.”
Mr Bignall said the climate change funding follows the $800,000 (A$400,000) grant given in 2008 to the UNDP’s Global Environment Facility Small Grants Program to support community based activities in Samoa to reduce the climate change impacts on ecosystems and livelihoods.
The new agreement supports core activities identified in Samoa's National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA), including:
- further development of climate change monitoring early warning systems,
- zoning and strategic planning,
- surface flood adaptation, including a national strategy for surface flood adaptation and pilot to manage surface floods in Apia urban area,
- forest fire prevention including upgrade of national climate system to support early warning in the water, forest and tourism sectors,
- sustainable tourism adaptation including a national strategy, capacity building in tourism infrastructure environmental impact assessment, standards for tourism services and pilot to offset carbon emissions from visitors travelling to Samoa, and
- technical assistance to assess the feasibility and then construction of a biomass gasification plant to produce clean and renewable energy.
The breakdown of the $2.3 million funding includes:
· $1.5 million - for the implementation of the NAPA 4 priorities - Integrating climate change risks into the land-use planning, water, forestry and tourism sectors,
· $500,000 - for implementation of the Biomass Gasification Pilot Project,
· $200,000 - for supporting sustainable and coordinated financing for climate change adaptation, and
· $100,000 - for capacity building and increasing climate change awareness and technical understanding, especially across government.
During the next 12 months, the Samoa-Australia Partnership for Development supports five mutually agreed priority areas to:
· Promote private sector growth and employment with an emphasis on agriculture and fisheries, regional economic integration and trade liberalisation, economic infrastructure and lowering costs of doing business,
· Improve health by supporting the reduction of non-communicable diseases and workforce development in the health sector,
· Improve education by supporting equitable access to and quality of education including disability services,
· Improve governance through public sector improvement, greater public financial management and strengthening statistics and data on development and governance indicators, and
· Provide climate change assistance to support Samoa monitor the impacts of climate change, provide adaptation measures for vulnerable communities and develop viable options for renewable energy.
A sixth priority area, strengthening law and justice, is currently being developed.
Australia is one of the largest development partners to Samoa, providing more than $74 million (A$37 million) every year to support activities that deliver benefits to all Samoans. Australia also provided SAT$24 million (A$12 million) towards the recent tsunami relief and rebuilding efforts.
- Press Release by AHC / Photo by JohNault