SPC/GIZ Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Islands Region (CCCPIR) programme
Natural disasters are a fact of life in Samoa. In the past two decades, the country was hit by cyclones in 1990, 1991, 2004, and most recently in December 2012; as well as a tsunami in 2009. These events take a toll on the islands and the marine environment Samoa depends on, and recovering from them takes many years.
In addition to worsening natural disasters such as cyclones, climate change is expected to impact Samoa’s marine environment, increasing sea and air temperatures, causing ocean acidification, and changing ocean currents and ocean nutrient supply. Exacerbated by population pressure, these threats to the marine environment are of great concern to Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture (MAF) and the Samoan people. Rural villagers, in particular, depend heavily on fishing for their livelihood and for food security.
The Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region (CCCPIR) project focal point in Samoa is the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE). There is a steering committee consisting of MNRE; MAF; the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (MESC); the Samoa Chamber of Commerce; the Samoa Tourism Authority; the Ministry of Finance; and the Ministry of Women, Community and Sustainable Development. The local CCCPIR representative and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) are observers. Based on consultations, CCCPIR is currently supporting mainstreaming relevant elements of climate change into the fisheries sector, developing and implementing community-based management strategies governing the use of fisheries and marine resources, and education on climate change. It is anticipated that there will be a tourism component implemented soon.
Mainstreaming climate change in Samoa
In 2011 MAF took part in an SPC workshop to learn about the recent scientific research on the vulnerability of fisheries in the Pacific to climate change and possible adaptation opportunities. Further work by SPC and FAO takes an even closer look at the links between fisheries, climate change adaptation and food security. This knowledge has been used by MAF to train staff, revise policies to take climate change into account, and now, with the CCCPIR project, in local fisheries planning and management practices.
In 2013, MAF, SPC and CCCPIR hosted a workshop to share this knowledge relevant to protecting Samoa’s fisheries with other sectors of the Government of Samoa, in particular in the agriculture sector. This mainstreaming activity is part of a larger programme to integrate the priority adaptations for fisheries across sectors as well as reflect them in national policies that are not specific to fisheries but nonetheless important, such as the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) for agriculture, because there will be opportunities to align the efforts of fisheries and agriculture to better support fisheries adaptation priorities.
On-the-ground programme implementation
CCCPIR is working with the Government of Samoa and village communities to develop management strategies and activities governing the use of fisheries and marine resources. The aim of the CCCPIR project is to work with selected villages on building awareness on the impacts of climate change, to communicate scientific information and results of site-based assessments, and to propose and assist with the implementation of alternative livelihood adaptation measures in order to build resilience in communities to the impacts of climate change. Armed with this understanding, it is anticipated that villagers will make informed decisions that will protect their coastal livelihoods and health, and will uphold them over time, thereby achieving several of Samoa’s national sustainable development priorities, namely food security, sustainable livelihoods and climate change adaptation.
The implementation strategy is founded on two principle components: community engagement and raising awareness about climate change. Climate change science, climate change projections, extensive experience and traditional knowledge are being brought together to develop coastal fisheries policies and practices to enable fishing communities to make decisions and take actions that make them less vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
MAF has prioritised climate change adaptation initiatives in the following plans:
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Sector Plan 2012–2016
Strategy 3.3 – Develop Adaptation and Mitigation Policies on Climate Change
The Coastal Fisheries Management and Development Plan 2013–2017
The Aquaculture Development and Management Plan 2013
The CCCPIR project will work with village communities to identify priority adaptations for their local coastal fisheries management plans and assist in implementing them. Guidelines will then be developed from this activity to use with all village communities.
Achievements to date
- November 2012 – Four pilot sites were selected and visited to introduce the programme.
- February 2013 – A two-day workshop was carried out on climate change impacts on fisheries and marine resources and priority strategies (MAF, SPC/GIZ CCCPIR).
Activities in 2013
Major activities include the following:
- Conduct training workshops for communities and community leaders on the impacts of climate change on their coastal and marine resources, and identify adaptation priorities for coastal fishing;
- Introduce and promote the implementation of adaptation opportunities, such as a Bleaching Response Plan;
- Develop coastal fisheries resource profiles for the four pilot sites;
- Conduct a workshop to verify the coastal fisheries resource profiles and the priority adaptations and necessary management actions;
- Develop indicators to monitor climate change impacts on coastal marine resources and assess the effectiveness of the adaptation interventions and management strategies over time;
- Begin a review of management plans incorporating priority adaptations for coastal fisheries and necessary management actions for each site.
Climate change education
Rrepresentatives from Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (MESC), Ministry for Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), the National University of Samoa (NUS) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) made a commitment to continue collaboration and coordination amongst themselves and other partners to help promote education on climate change and to establish the active participation of key stakeholders.
A draft Plan of Action was developed to help facilitate the process, with MNRE and MESC as lead agencies. The plan emphasises the need to consolidate national efforts and linkages that can sustainably promote climate change education at all different levels of the education sector. Such efforts would also support current activities related to climate change adaptation and mitigation awareness with linkages to existing national policies and plans on climate change, desertification and biodiversity (NAPA, National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification National Action Plan and others).
Achievements to date
- A national Climate Change Education Working Group was endorsed by the Climate Change National Steering Committee, including terms of reference. The working group consists of MNRE, MESC, NUS and USP; SPREP and SPC/GIZ are observers (2012).
- A concept was developed and stakeholder mapping undertaken to survey and take stock of existing and utilised education and awareness resources on climate change across agencies in Samoa.
- A new picture-based climate change toolkit targeting classes 7 and 8 was presented and trialled in primary schools (2013).
Activities in 2013
- In- and pre-service training on the picture-based outreach toolkit on climate change.
- Development, testing and implementation of a school-focused approach for assessment of student achievement with Curriculum Development Unit (CDU), Curriculum, Material & Assessment Division (CMAD) and the South Pacific Board for Educational Assessment (SPBEA). The SPBEA is a programme of SPC’s Education, Training and Human Development Division.
- Assessment or stocktake of approaches used in in-service training (Themes 3 and 6).
- Stocktake of climate change relevant approaches and resources used in teaching or training currently available in Samoa. Resources include those produced by MESC for use in schools as well as resources used by NUS in pre-service and in-service teacher training, other resources used in primary and secondary schools, resources produced by MNRE and other agencies for education and public awareness, and more.