The Government of Samoa through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment with financial resources from the Global Climate Change Alliance- EU through the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Oceania Regional Office (IUCN ORO) is implementing a four (4) years Project to look at “Building Resilience by strengthening community engagement through Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and Eso-system Based Adaptation.
MNRE reconfirmed that Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) or Ocean Planning is an important tool for ocean management for the Pacific Island countries where ~98% of the area is ocean, and where livelihoods, food security, cultural wellbeing, and economic dependencies are inter-connected with the ocean.
There is recognition that marine ecosystems are in decline, mostly due to human activities, but there is also recognition that it is possible to manage human activities to minimize these impacts. MSP involves an inter-sectoral and participatory public process of identifying and achieving economic, social and ecological objectives in a transparent and organized way.
At the Session for Nature Based solutions as adaptation strategies for the Pacific region, the Chief Executive Officer for Samoa’s Ministry for Natural Resources and Environment, Ulu Bismarck Crawley spoke on Samoa’s effort in highlighting the significance of Marine Spatial Planning for the sustainable development and wise use of Samoa’s Ocean Resources.
“The Marine Spatial Plan Project is intended for collecting more data and information that will inform us on the ocean and the resources it provides so we can make good decisions for its management and sustainability. This will include identification of where the resources are, the issues and challenges to its generation, accessibility and use,” said Ulu.
“The Ocean has been discussed as a carbon sink for emissions that is causing the changing climate but there is a lot of unknown with the ocean and this project guides us towards gathering good data on how we can plan and manage our ocean resources.”
“These include reefs which play a big part in protecting coastlines from spring and king tides which are becoming frequent and more damaging as well as protection from potential sea level rise due to climate change and tsunamis tidal waves.
Ulu also mentioned that this project will be well consulted with key stakeholders such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry of Education the private sector and of course the communities..
“We did the inception workshop last month in consultation with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and now we have an implementation plan and supporting governance structure that will see the partnership between government and CSO for its implementation.”
“ The work programme will be for four years and will include mid-term after 2 years to see where we are in terms of activities been implemented and also opportunities for necessary revisions to achieve the same outcome.”
The data compilation copies will also be distributed to stakeholders in order to update their records and understanding of our oceans.
Ulu added, “The challenge faced by Eba in small islands in relations to climate change shall be reviewed properly because we are running against time for small island countries and we have to be selective on interventions or investments that enhance the resilient of communities, seawalls versus mangroves.