Samoa’s Environment Week celebration was seen as a great success by many – with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s (MNRE’s) various divisions working tirelessly to provide a week-long comprehensive programme for the sake of increasing the public’s environmental literacy, as well as display work being done around Samoa by their respective divisions, there were many notable events.

Aside from MNRE’s – Division of Environment Conservation’s (DEC) partner communities, Faleaseela, Matafa’a and Magiagi, showing great enthusiasm towards protecting the Manumea (Samoa’s critically endangered national bird) during the opening ceremony through song and dance – all while wearing colorful outfits depicting the national bird – the opening day’s other very notable event was the launch of DEC’s various key documents and promotional material.

These materials include: Samoa’s Sixth National Report (Samoa’s 6NR) to the Convention on Biological Diversity; the National Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Legal Framework, ABS pull up banners and brochures; Samoa’s National Interim Report on the Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol (NP); National Invasive Species Strategy and Action Plan 2019-2024 (NISSAP); National Waste Management Strategy (2019-2023); Review and Update of the National Implementation (NIP) for the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) for Samoa; Green Climate Fund’s (GCF) project awareness material.

Many of the above-mentioned materials will act as backbone documents to help better guide DEC’s work towards achieving its overall objective to “implement sustainable development and management of biological resources and the environment including waste management”.

Below are brief summaries of the above-mentioned key documents and awareness material:

Samoa’s 6NR: This national report is the 6th one of its kind submitted to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) and provides important information on the status of Biodiversity and the snapshot of efforts to address Biodiversity loss. Highlights of the report include Samoa’s progressive work in archiving its “Aicgi Biodiversity Targets”  as Samoa adopted all 20 targets which has been interwoven into the National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan (NBSAP). Furthermore, it identifies gaps and challenges that still needs to be addressed in preparation for the next reporting period.  The Report was developed through national workshops, consultations and steering committee meeting involving all Stakeholders including, Government Organizations, None Governvmental Organisations (NGO’s), Academia and Private Sectors. Collective information was used to develop a high data driven 6NR for Samoa.

Global ABS Project Awareness Material: The Nagoya Protocol on ABS is a supplementary agreement of the Convention on Biological Diversity which came into force on October 12, 2010. Samoa is a Party to the Protocol since 2014. With kind assistance from the Global ABS Project under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Samoa, through DEC, has successfully implemented its key activities as obligations to the Protocol. The ABS legal framework and awareness material were launched to help better inform the country as a whole on the importance of ABS in facilitating access and ensuring the equitable sharing of any benefits arising from the usage of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.

Samoa’s National Interim Report on the Implementation of the NP: In addition to awareness raising products, Samoa is also obligated under the NP on ABS to develop Interim Reports on the implementation of the NP in Samoa. This is also a milestone for Samoa for being the first in the region to successfully upload its Interim Report on the CBD Website. The purpose of the national report is to report on the implementation of the NP in member countries and can be a positive tool for both parties and non-parties to assess the level of implementation of the NP, as well as gaps and desires in terms of capacity, and will assist the COP-MOP in reviewing, on a regular basis, the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and to make, within its mandate, the decisions necessary to promote its effective implementation. This was funded by SMSMCL Project under MNRE.

NISSAP (2019-2024): Since 2002, DEC has taken the lead in developing the NISSAP to address the issue of Invasive Species (IS) in Samoa. The NISSAP (2019-2024), which also includes reviews of the NISSAP (2008-2011), was formulated through a multi-sectoral consultative involving all stakeholders ranging from Government Organizations, NGO’s, Academia and Private Sectors. The NISSAP (2019-2024) is a continuation of the NISAP (2008 – 2011), with a few additions, that will serve as 5 year Plan consisting of srategies and actions that should be taken by all Stakeholders in targeting established and potential IS. One of the biggest threats to island biodiversity are IS so a document of this nature is necessary in guiding Samoa’s efforts towards mitigating those threats. Funding support for this document was provided by the SMSMCL project and proofreading support was provided by SPREP and UNDP.

National Waste Management Strategy (2019-2023): With an overall vision of a “Clean and Healthy Samoa”, the National Waste Management Startegy, which is Samoa’s first strategy developed for waste management, targets both solid waste and chemical and hazadous waste. The formulation of the strategy was lead by MNRE with funding and technical assistance from JICA through J-PRISM II as well as collaboration with SPREP. The staregy was developed through baseline surveys and series of discussions with stakeholders such as: government ministries and agencies, private sectors, and communities, to reflect the different perspective from different view points – this was successfully approved by the cabinet in Janurary 2019.

Review and Update of the NIP for the stockholm convention on POP’s for Samoa: As a party to the Stockholm Convention, Samoa developed its First NIP on POPs in 2004. To comply with Article 7 of the Stockholm Convention, Samoa needs to Review and Update their first NIP to report the new POPs identified by the Convention. The Review and Update NIP Project was funded by Global Environmenta Facility (GEF), executed by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and implemented by MNRE.

Green Climate Fund Project Awareness Material: The DEC team, in partnership with key funders – the Vaisigano Catchment Project (VCP) under the GCF, developed a range of awareness materials that will help towards the VCP’s goal of “reducing the effect of recurring floods related to impacts within the Vaisigano River Cathment” which was desinged to strengthen the adaptive capacity and reduce exposure to Climate Risks, Infrastructure and the Human built environment in the Vaisigano Catchement Area (the river that flows through Apia Urban Area. Awareness material includes: Invasive plant poster, butterfly booklet, myna bird brochure, and the plastic ban bus.

MNRE – DEC would like to thank all its partners who have assisted in the development of the above mentioned documents and awareness material – all of which are available to the public from MNRE

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