Samoa steps up efforts to implement the Rio Conventions

Sep 17, 2014

UNDP Resident Representative, Lizbeth Cullity and Assistant CEO of the MNRE, Anne Rasmussen at the signing. Photo credit: UNDP Samoa.

The Government of Samoa and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today signed a new project to step up efforts to meet obligations under the Rio Conventions on biodiversity, climate change and desertification.

The “Capacity for Implementing Rio Conventions in Samoa” project will mainstream the Conventions into national development plans and strengthen the legislative and regulatory instruments that govern them. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) funds the project with support from the Government of Samoa and UNDP.

“The project will strengthen capacities to develop policy and legislation related to the Rio conventions”, said Anne Rasmussen, Assistant Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), the implementing partner of the project. “Increasing public awareness regarding these conventions is a key priority for the Government of Samoa”.

The project will develop knowledge and skillsets and engage key stakeholders as partners and collaborators. These stakeholders will be actively involved in the review of tools and mechanisms to better deliver the Rio Convention obligations. Stakeholders will also be involved in the review of environmental legal instruments, policies and frameworks to mainstream the Rio Conventions into national and sector specific strategies.  
The signing of the new project comes shortly after Samoa hosted the highly successful conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), held in Apia from 1 to 4 September 2014, where biodiversity and climate change were some of the key topics.

“As underscored by Samoa and many other island states during the Small Island Developing states conference, climate change adaptation and mitigation is crucial for SIDS countries. Through improved understanding, use and enforcement of the obligations of the Rio conventions by communities, citizens, political leaders, public and private sector representatives, Samoa takes an important step forward with this project,” said Lizbeth Cullity, the UNDP Resident Representative to Samoa. 

Because of the wide range of laws, strategies, frameworks and policies governing the environmental sector, there is a need to streamline the available tools to achieve more effective implementation and enforcement of the Convention objectives.

“We are looking forward to a joint effort by all stakeholders to meet Samoa’s obligations to the Rio Conventions”, said Noumea Simi, Assistant Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Finance. “By raising public awareness, building partnerships and amending current environmental legal instruments where appropriate, this project will enable Samoa to reach the outcomes listed the Rio conventions, protect our biodiversity and prepare and adapt to climate change.”

Contact information
MNRE: Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Phone: +685 67200
UNDP: Mr. Mohammad Alamgir, Communications for Results Officer, + 685 7275109

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