In early 2018, the office of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Samoa made a landmark decision to provide a professional volunteer to work with the Global Environment Facility–Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP) team at the UNDP office in Tuanaimato. This followed months of negotiation and meetings between the two parties, which also included a courtesy meeting with the Global Manager of the SGP, Ms. Yoko Watanabe, in August 2017.
The arrival of Mr. Koki Iinuma in December 2018, right on the margins of the SAMOA PATHWAY mid-term review conference in Apia, was a major achievement in establishing closer collaboration between JICA and the UNDP GEF-SGP team in Samoa.
After 14 months of providing effective financial and technical support to ensure successful project implementation of the SGP in the Samoa sub-region (including Niue & Tokelau), today’s evaluation meeting with the new Coordinator of the JICA Volunteer Programme in Samoa, Mr. Hiroyuki Tsuruta, has strengthened the partnership between JICA and the GEF-SGP UNDP office in Samoa. One of the key topics of discussion today was the recruitment Mr. Iinuma’s successor when his assignment ends in October 2020.
In recognition of this mutually beneficial partnership, Mr. Tsuruta said: “We would like to express our appreciation to the GEF-SGP UNDP team for making this partnership a valuable one in terms of building the capacity of our JICA volunteer and also the opportunity for Mr. Iinuma to contribute substantively to the success of the SGP portfolio in the Samoa sub-region.”
The UNDP GEF-SGP has been operating in Samoa since 2003 and to date, has provided approximately USD 3.9 million of financial support across 215 projects, assisting the contributions of civil society organizations (CSOs), community-based organizations (CBOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in fostering and conserving an environment that stimulates growth whilst enhancing the livelihoods of those who are most vulnerable.
On behalf of the UNDP GEF-SGP office, Mr. Jorn Sorensen (UNDP Resident Representative) acknowledged the solid partnership with the JICA Samoa office, which is a first of its kind in the Pacific region. He also acknowledged and thanked the members of the National Steering Committee (NSC) and Technical Advisory Committee (TAG) comprising of the Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry of Finance, Samoa Umbrella of NGOs, Small Business Enterprise Centre, Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development, Samoa Chamber of Commerce, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, and Conservation International for their hard work in supporting the programme over the 15 years since its establishment in Samoa.
Providing overall guidance and direction to the country programme, the NSC contributes to establishing mechanisms for sustainability whilst being responsible for selecting and approving projects, and for monitoring their technical and substantive quality. With the diverse representation from the many different environmental organisations, an environmentally sensitive approach to economic growth and social development is ensured, whilst highlighting the importance of durable and strong partnerships to successful and sustainable local development.
The GEF-SGP community approach expresses the essential link between the people’s needs and the environmental challenges which impede their needs and survival. For projects that restore and promote this vital link, the programme offers grants of up to USD 50,000 directly to local communities (including CSOs and other NGOs) who are at risk due to their strong dependency on natural resources and the fragile ecosystems in which they live.
· Mr. Filifilia Iosefa, Sub Regional Coordinator (NC)
· E-mail: email@example.com - Phone: (685) 21393 ext. 37