Communities are assisted in tackling Climate Change

Samoa commits to resilient and inclusive development with the Sign Off ceremony of the CIM Plans in 41 Districts, covering 253 villages and benefiting people. The Community Integrated Management Plans (CIMP) is a document that aims to assist villages and communities to better manage their natural environment and infrastructure so that they can be more resilient and better adapt to climate change and its adverse impacts.

Friday 15 (Savaii) & 22nd (Upolu), 2018.  The Government of Samoa through its Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment committed in a  partnership agreement with community representatives where both parties commit to work together to implement the Community Integrated Management Plans over the next 10 years, following a work-plan that has been coined between government and communities over the last year.

Like many small island developing states, Samoa is highly vulnerable to climate change. From the impacts of sea-level rise, inundation and costal erosion, to the ramifications of more frequent and intense tropical storms, rainfall and higher temperatures for health, building resilience is a key priority for the Government.

Responding to the risks, both development partners: the UNDP-supported project, ‘Enhancing Resilience of Coastal Communities of Samoa to Climate Change’, funded by the Adaptation Fund and the World Bank, “Enhancing Climate Resilience of Coastal Communities project” under the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) regional program both focused on addressing key issues at the national, district and community-level.

The Community Integrated Management Plans are a core component of this project; a genuine partnership between villages and the government in the integrated management of Infrastructure, Natural Environment and Resources; Livelihoods and Food security; and Village Governance. A consultative and participatory process where communities prioritised their own development needs under government facilitation and expertise, ensuring the active participation of women, youth and untitled men to achieve the greatest ownership.

As explained by the CEO of the Ministry of National Resources and Environment (MNRE), Mr Ulu Bismarck: “Such daunting challenge could only be addressed under a strong and inclusive partnership; a nation-wide deal with the highest level of government commitment and community ownership, to develop a resilient and inclusive Samoa”.

The resulting plans are a set of solutions covering the whole spectrum of development needs of the community; from utilising district and village bylaws to guide court arbitration, to raise building foundations in case of floods, create climate ready evacuation centres, purchase rainwater harvesting and storage systems, propose emergency escape routes, construct revetment walls, establish marine protected areas, rehabilitate spring pools, replant forest, cocoa and coconut farms, create seed nurseries, coastal replanting and even construct climate resilient market stalls to sell the local produce.

“The approach encompasses the value community ownership and genuine partnerships plays, in recognition of the significant role communities including women and youth plays in governing and managing their respective assets, resources and environment” added Hon. Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Deputy Prime Minister and MNRE Minister.

The CIM Plans will always evolve along with the new challenges, but now we have a strong planning tool for developing resilient and inclusive communities with monitoring and evaluation systems in place that will highlight efficiencies and help us learn from the experience” comments Ms Fetoloai Alama, Project Director and Assistant Chief Executive Officer of MNRE, Planning and Urban Management Agency.

“Everyone in the villages gets involved to implement the CIM Plans” says Mr. Matafeo Sanele – Matai of Asaga, recalling a small grant they received last year; “women prepare food, while men carry heavy stones to build the wall. Our youth showcase their talent in carving our beautiful canoes that will be used for maintaining the mangrove, to transport materials across the river and most importantly, to give river tours to tourist and generate income to pay for the mangrove maintenance that provides a natural protection against sea erosion”

For more information on the project, ‘Enhancing Resilience of Coastal Communities of Samoa to Climate Change’, please visit http://bit.ly/AF-ERCC, or http://adaptation-undp.org/projects/af-samoaand follow @SamoaCARES on Twitter and Facebook.

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UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.

 Established under the Kyoto Protocol of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Adaptation Fund finances projects and programmes that help vulnerable communities in developing countries adapt to climate change.

The Government-led, UNDP-supported, project, ‘Enhancing Resilience of Coastal Communities of Samoa to Climate Change’, was approved in March 2012 by the Adaptation Fund Board. Its objective is to strengthen the ability of Samoan communities and public services to make informed decisions and manage climate change-driven pressures, in a pro-active, integrated and strategic way.