Communities get involved in climate change workshop

Mar 20, 2015

Participants at the latest workshop. Photo credit: Sara Ferrandi.

The Samoa Tourism Authority hosted a workshop this week with technical guidance from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE). The workshop is a part of the ‘Enhancing the resilience of tourism reliant communities to Climate Change risks’-project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF)  through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The project targets small tourism operators in 6 Tourism Development Areas in Upolu and Savaii and is about integrating climate change risks considerations in the tourism sector. The objective of the project is to enhance the resilience of tourism-reliant communities to climate change risks.  This will be achieved by integrating climate change considerations into development policy and instruments, and investing in adaptation actions supporting tourism-reliant communities.  

The purpose of the workshop is for representatives from the tourist reliant communities to build a three dimensional representation of their area in order to be able to visualize the impact that climate change might have from the ridges to the reefs and to predict the best way of improving the resilience of small tourism operators and the surrounding villages. “This innovative approach has been proven very positive for the systematic involvement of communities towards a more resilient planning of their territory” says Ms. Lizbeth Cullity, UNDP Resident Representative.

A similar workshop was held in the island of Manono last week with great success. Sara Ferrandi, focal point for the project in the UNDP said, “The strong engagement of young people in the construction, as well as women and elderly representatives with their understanding of their territory and traditional knowledge were remarkable. This participatory process allowed the communities in Manono to combine map interpretation with open discussion on land use planning scenarios”. Products used during the workshops included cardboard and drawing pins representing natural resources, households and other relevant elements of villages and landscape.  The construction of every model also meant a learning process for the Government core team, and will be valuable information for other projects in Samoa and in the Pacific region once digitalized.  Also it helps the communities to visualize how the areas might change in the next decades. Especially with the changes that the country and the tourism sector will undergo due to climate change and extreme weather conditions. 

The project targets 6 different sites around Samoa. Other Participatory 3 dimensional models will be built next week with representatives from the communities on the island as two models were made for Upolu this week. 


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Article by Anja Marcussen.

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