Speech by Anthony Wood, DRR - “Strengthening Multi Sectoral Management of Critical Landscape” Signing Ceremony

31 Oct 2013

image PHOTO CREDIT: TATSUYA HAYASHI
Hon Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Faamoetauloa Ulaitino Faale Tumaalii 
CEO of MNRE. Taulealeausumai Laavasa Malua
Minister of Finance. Honorable Faumuina Tiatia Liuga
CEO of Finance. Mr. Lavea Tupa’imatuna Iulai


Talofa lava!

I am very pleased to meet with you to celebrate the beginning of another promising initiative. Once more , I would like to congratulate the Government of Samoa, the Honourable Minister of Natural Resources and Environment and the honourable Minister of Finance, for the signing and launch of this important project “Strengthening Multi Sectoral Management of Critical Landscapes” for US$ 4,736,000 or SAT 10,845,440, that is expected to assist the local population to protect and sustainably manage Samoa’s most critical productive landscapes. 

UNDP is proud to have worked with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment with the support of the Ministry of Finance, on this crucial multi-sectoral project that will foster a new approach to land management, funded by the Global Environment Facility. In this, I would like to acknowledge the leadership of Mrs. Faainoino Laulala and Mrs Filisita Heather in bringing together key guidance and stakeholders in the design of this project and, of course, the strategic guidance from the CEO of MNRE, Mr Laavasa Taulealeausumai Malua. Your team has also been closely supported by our team at UNDP, not only in the Country Office, but also in our Regional Centre in Bangkok and Headquarters in New York.

Land degradation in Samoa has long been identified as a serious environmental concern. Attempts to address this issue in the past have faced the challenge of a complex matter that requires the coordination of multiple sectors.

In line with the LDCF Programme on Climate Change Adaptation currently under formulation, this project is absolutely crucial for addressing the barrier of a fragmented policy approach on environmental and resilience initiatives. In fact, the cross cutting nature of land management issues will boost the set up of an enabling multi-sectoral framework that will guide interventions on environment, climate change and DRR/DRM, and will make resilient development a priority of “economic and social concern”. 

The current SDS 2012-2016 has a strong emphasis on Sustainable Land Management, and it has been mainstreamed into every sub-sector of the Environment section of the Strategy as a crossing-cutting issue. It has also been streamlined into other sectors particularly under Agriculture, Water and Tourism sectors.  The strong focus on environmental management and particularly on sustainable land management in Samoa’s SDS builds on its First National Environmental Management Strategy (NEMS) in 1993 and the most recent one approved earlier this year. This document provided a national basis for Samoa to adopt sustainable approaches in addressing key targeted environmental components. It advocated for a holistic approach to addressing pressing threats to the environment, with strong cooperation between government agencies to effectively manage priority environment issues.  
This is also why, in signing off on this important document, Honorable Minister, I am particularly proud that this project will build up on the coordination efforts that the Government is currently making to harmonize the management of environment and climate change projects in the country. 

Moreover, it represents another example of UNDP delivering on its commitment to the PM and to Samoa, on the important priority of accessing funds for the sustainable development of the country, focusing on environmental management in different sectors. 

The land management programme will strengthen other ongoing initiatives, capacities and partnerships with the Government, fellow UN agencies and other development partners focusing on an integrated approach to the use of land, considering the essence of landscapes from ridge to reef.

This project will assist the Government of Samoa “to strengthen local capacities, incentives and actions for integrated landscape management in order to reduce land degradation and greenhouse gas emissions and promote nature conservation whilst enhancing sustainable local livelihoods”. 
In this direction, it will produce two outcomes. A first one focused on interventions at community level, for community and farmers to be able to benefit from integrated land and water management on their traditionally owned lands and a second one focused on enabling the national framework in order to promote integrated landscape management, ultimately benefiting communities that depend on natural resources for their livelihoods.

It is expected that through the support of this project at least 62,730 ha of agricultural and forest land will have improved soil and water conservation and management practices, including organic agriculture and reforestation with native species. 

The project recognizes that sustainable land management needs strong participation of all members of the community – all men, women and youths. Given the strong roles women also play in sustainable land management, the project will ensure equitable participation of women, men and the youth in project activities.

Finally, Hon Minister, UNDP is mindful that Land Management is a cross-sectoral issue that needs to be addressed from many different perspectives. UNDP is supporting Samoa in adopting a development - wide approach to climate change and land management by working in a wide range of sectors: agriculture, health, forestry, coastal protection, climate finance and now tourism. Taking advantage of synergies between existing and new initiatives, preventing overlapping and decreasing transaction costs is essential for the success of the programme. 

This signing ceremony formally underlines the commitment of Samoa and UNDP towards the enhancement of resilient development in Samoa. 
Hon Minister, we count on your support on this important next step forward towards a more systematic sustainable land management approach for a more balanced economic growth, based on the respect of our country’s environment.

Faafetai tele, Soifua ma ia Manuia!