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Increasing Climate Resilience of Island Communities in Samoa

PRESS RELEASE

 

WASHINGTON, DC, April 8, 2011 – Communities on the small Pacific island of Samoa are getting renewed support from the Least Development Countries Fund (LDCF), managed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to battle against the negative effects of climate change. With the recently approved project entitled “Integration of Climate Change Risks and Resilience into Forestry Management in Samoa” (ICCRIFS), $2.6 million from the LDCF and additional cofinancing of $2.5 million from bilateral development partners such as JICA, the Japan International Cooperation Agency and AusAid, the Australian Government’s Overseas Aid Program among others, will be invested to increase resilience to climate change of 26 villages in 3 different areas of the country.

Community consultation during project formulation, involving representatives of Village Mayors, Council of Chiefs and Women’s Groups - Photo credit: Tolusina PouliCommunity consultation during project formulation, involving representatives of Village Mayors, Council of Chiefs and Women’s Groups.
Photo credit: Tolusina Pouli

 

More specifically, the project focuses on (i) building stakeholder capacity to increase resilience against and identify options to address climate change risks; (ii) enhancing community capabilities to develop and implement response strategies and measures to respond to the adverse effects of climate change; and (iii) improving local awareness and understanding of communities and other key stakeholders about the necessity and benefits of preparedness for climate change risks.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is implementing the project.

This project will finance the additional costs of achieving sustainable development imposed on Samoa as a least developed country by the impacts of climate change. It is country-driven, cost-effective, and will integrate climate change risk considerations into lowland agroforestry and upland native forestry management plans and national development planning,” said Monique Barbut, CEO and Chairperson of the GEF.

 

Lake Lanoto’o National Park, one of the ICCRIFS project sites - Photo credit: Tolusina Pouli
Lake Lanoto’o National Park, one of the ICCRIFS project sites
Photo credit: Tolusina Pouli

 

This ambitious and complex project is a key addition to already ongoing projects in Samoa and the region, for example in the area of sustainable forest management, with the FAO-GEF Forestry and Protected Area Management Project and the GEF-funded project on Samoa’s Capacity Building and Mainstreaming of Sustainable Land Management to just name a few.

ICCRIFS is part of a set of sectoral NAPA [National Adaptation Program for Action] implementation projects in Samoa funded from GEF-LDCF, which will bring much needed resources to the forestry sector already affected by climate induced effects, such as cyclones, drought and associated wind and forest fire damage.It will support the introduction of climate-sensitive practices both in upland native forestry and lowland agroforestry areas in an integrated way, involving public protected areas and customary village lands. The end-aim is to make Samoan communities which are dependent on forestry resources to become more resilient to climate change. We very much value the support provided by UNDP in assistance with formulation and now implementation of this important initiative,” said Mr. Taule'ale'ausumai Tuifuisa'a La'avasa Malua, Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Natural Resources Environment & Meteorology, Samoa.

Ms. Nileema Noble, UN Resident Representative and UNDP Resident Coordinator, Samoa Multi-country Office added: “It is very encouraging to work in partnership with the Government of Samoa toward systematic implementation of the NAPA priorities, ensuring that climate change risks do not jeopardize development efforts and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.”

The project will cover approximately 10,000 Ha of native forestry areas (NPs and customary upland areas), and at least 20,000 Ha lowland agroforestry areas, involving directly 26 villages in 3 different areas of the country, 2 of on the island of Upolu and 1 on Savaii. It is expected that, as a result of the combined policy, climate-resilient agro-forestry practices and knowledge management activities, food security in the target areas will be significantly enhanced. The integrated watershed level land use and forestry measures will contribute to enhancing water supply for both agricultural and domestic use. The increased yields and variety of crops, as well as the use of them for food processing, fodder, or construction material will contribute to livelihood diversification and alternative income opportunities. The enhanced food and water supply will also contribute to health benefits.


About the LDCF
The Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) was established under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at its seventh session in Marrakech in 2001. The Fund, which is managed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), addresses the special needs of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), which are especially vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. This includes preparing and implementing National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs), which aim to identify “urgent and immediate needs” of each LDC according to specific guidelines provided by the Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG). The GEF has, as of April 2011, mobilized voluntary contributions of $ 322.6 million for the LDCF.
For more information about LDCF: http://www.thegef.org/gef/ldcf  

 

About the Global Environment Facility
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 182 member governments — in partnership with international institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector — to address global environmental issues. An independently operating financial organization, the GEF provides grants to developing countries and countries with economies in transition for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants. These projects benefit the global environment, linking local, national, and global environmental challenges and promoting sustainable livelihoods.

Established in 1991, the GEF is today the largest public funder of projects to improve the global environment. The GEF has allocated $9.2 billion, supplemented by more than $40 billion in cofinancing, for more than 2,700 projects in more than 165 developing countries and countries with economies in transition. Through its Small Grants Programme (SGP), the GEF has also made more than 12,000 small grants directly to nongovernmental and community organizations, totaling $495 million.
For more information: www.thegef.org