Inception Workshop for “Enhancing the Resilience of Tourism-reliant Communities to Climate Change Risks"

30 Jul 2013

imageSamoa's beautiful forests are only part of the drawcard of its tourism industry. Photo credit: Sara Ferrandi, UNDP Samoa MCO intern.

On Tuesday the 30th of July at the Tanoa Hotel in Apia, the Inception Workshop was held for “Enhancing the Resilience of Tourism-reliant Communities to Climate Change Risks”.  

The project implemented by the Samoa Tourism Authority with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and oversight by United Nations Development Program is the first tourism project funded by the Global Environment Fund in Samoa. Its main objective is to support small scale tourism operators and to improve the resilience of tourism-reliant communities to the effects of climate change. 

Mr Anthony Woods, the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Ms. Sonja Hunter, CEO of STA and Mr Laavasa Taulealeausumai Malua, CEO of MNRE welcomed the participants to the workshop emphasising the importance of partnership in working towards a sustainable development of Samoa. 

This event represents the initial, crucial launch phase of this project. The purpose of which is to confirm the participation of public and private stakeholders towards common goals and to define their roles and the areas of intervention during the next four years. 

During the workshop, participants were lead through the key tools and concepts of project management by the STA’s project coordinator in collaboration with UNDP staff. Since Cyclone Evan in December 2012, many premises and tourist infrastructure have had to be reassessed and new needs targeted by the project. Some government ministries, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, the Chamber of Commerce and main public corporations (EPC and SWA) as well as NGOs like WIBDI, were well represented at the workshop and worked together towards this intent.

Tourism is a key sector of Samoa’s economy and is expanding and growing. The protection and promotion of this sector is directly linked to the preservation of Samoa’s pristine natural environment and adaptation to climate change hazards which directly threaten its interests and assets. 

This project strongly pushes to foster the involvement of the private sector. The identification of business opportunities promoting local resources and creating new opportunities for new and existing small tourism operators according to the new challenges imposed by climate change is a great chance in the path towards the enhancement of a resilient development for Samoa.

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Article by Sara Ferrandi, UNDP EE Unit.