(l-r) UNDP Resident Representative, Jorn Sorensen, UNDP Deputy Resident Rep, Verena Linneweber, SROS Scientist,  Annie Tuisuga & SROS CEO, Seuseu Joseph Tauati with locally produced hand sanitizers that will be produced at  scale under the new project
(l-r) UNDP Resident Representative, Jorn Sorensen; UNDP Deputy Resident Representative; Verena Linneweber; Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa, Manager, Environment & Renewable Energy Division, Annie Tuisuga & SROS CEO, Seuseu Joseph Tauati with locally produced hand sanitizers that will be produced at scale under the new project. Photo: L.Lesa/UNDP Samoa

The COVID-19 Preparedness and Recovery: Diversification of the Economic Sector in Samoa (CPRDESS) Project has been launched in Samoa with the hosting of its inception workshop.

Funded by the Government of Japan and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the project aims to strengthen COVID-19 preparedness and accelerate socio-economic recovery in Samoa through the revitalization, diversification and expansion of the agriculture and fisheries sector.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic across Samoa, the rising unemployment rates have seen people revert to the land and sea for food and livelihood security. UNDP, together with local stakeholders, capitalized on this by conceptualizing the CPRDESS project, aiming to build back better by strategically targeting the creation of inclusive and sustainable income-generating opportunities within the agriculture and fisheries sectors for youth and women. This will lead to the improvement of vulnerable groups’ economic empowerment whilst accelerating gender equality and poverty eradication. 

The project’s inception workshop brought together key partners and stakeholders from the public and private sectors to finalize the shape, form and direction the project will take to achieve its key goals and objectives.

Speaking at the opening of the workshop, Japan’s Ambassador to Samoa, His Excellency, Mr. Genichi Terasawa, said Japan is thrilled to be part of this timely project.

“With our collaboration with UNDP, we can achieve more in promoting the economic empowerment of women and youth. As we face the current crisis and these challenges, Japan remains committed and engaged in the fight against the virus by doing its utmost for the health, safety and security of our people and around the world. Japan also works with international organizations such as UNDP, so that relevant international frameworks will be able to deliver results,” said Mr. Terasawa.

UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Jorn Sorensen, said UNDP is grateful to work in partnership with the Governments of Japan and Samoa through this project to help create employment opportunities in these critical sectors.

“Traditionally, the agriculture and fisheries sectors have represented the largest economic sectors in Samoa and proven key to sustainable development due to their direct contribution to food and nutrition, rural livelihood security, poverty alleviation, women’s empowerment, economic growth, climate change resilience and national cultural heritage,” said Mr Sorensen.  

“While reversing rising unemployment trends will require continued macroeconomic stability, targeted labour support to the unemployed, particularly women and youth, is critical to building back better, creating more sustainable, resilient and inclusive industries that are capable of buffering the long-term socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The project acknowledges that destructive as it has been, the global pandemic presents an opportunity for Samoa to test and strengthen social, economic, and environmental resilience in safeguarding and accelerating progress against the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway.

The key partners for this project are the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Scientific Research Organization of Samoa, the Samoa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Samoa Koko Industry Association, Japan’s Pacific Island Centre, Japan International Cooperation Agency, and UNDP’s Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Programme.

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