1 February 2024, Samoa. The Pacific region is highly vulnerable and prone to the impacts of climate change, with loss of biodiversity, increased intensity of storms, drought, damage to infrastructure and diminished access to fresh water to name a few.
The European Union(EU) Intra-ACP GCCA Plus Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building (PACRES) Project has worked to address a range of these issues across the Pacific by scaling up pilot projects to tackle climate change through adaptive measures.
The PACRES Project implementation phase ended on 31 January 2024, and the Government of Samoa through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme(SPREP) through the PACRES Project came together to hand over two scaled-up pilot projects focused on increasing climate reliance and water security to communities in Savaii, Samoa.
On 30 January, village representatives from Maota joined PACRES and MNRE in launching the extension of the nursery at the MNRE Forestry Station at Maota. The extended germination house is an expansion of the current Maota Station nursery and will house agroforestry and climate resilient crop seedlings and wildlings.
The nursery will support tree planting activities in village communities across the South-West Savaii Forestry region from Taga village in the southern coast of the island, to Satuiatua in the west. Thus, also contributing to communities building climate resilience through reforestation efforts, restoration of degraded watershed areas as well as generating cash crops to finance community development.
Assistant Chief Executive Officer for the Forestry Division, Mr Moafanua Tolusina Pouli expressed his gratitude to the project, he said “The Samoa government does not have enough funds to fund all these priorities, without the support and financial assistance from the EU and donors through the PACRES Project and SPREP team, we would not have this nursery extension today”.
On the same day, the Water Security Enhancement project was launched and handed over to the Matautu District in Savaii. The Matautu District includes seven villages, Avao, Fagamalo, Lelepa, Safa’i, Salei’a, Sato’alepai and Vaipouli. Situated in the northern side of Savaii, the villages have increasingly felt the impacts of climate change with every passing year. Increasing intensity of storms, sea level rise and prolonged drought has seen the district experience hardship through these impacts. In response to these mounting threats, 100 rainwater harvesting systems and water tanks were distributed to 100 families across the district and the water tanks will enable to families to access clean drinking water during climate change events and improve livelihoods in the community.
Village representative for the Matautu District, Mr Faamoetauloa Evile and beneficiary of the water project from Lelepa village also expressed his gratitude his appreciation for the Water Security Enhancement project, he said “With the support from donors, you have provided the Matutu District with water tanks, and we wish to thank you for your kindness to this community”.
On hand to launch the projects, PACRES Project Manager, Mr Semi Qamese highlighted the importance of partnerships in the successful delivery of both projects. He said, “Our Pacific communities are the most vulnerable at the frontline of climate change and they feel the most severe impacts. It is through the partnership between communities and MNRE that we can identify the needs of our communities and how their challenges can be addressed.”
He further expressed his gratitude to all partners and said “It has been our pleasure to support these projects as well as the communities they serve. We are grateful to the communities for supporting and championing these initiatives as their own, handing these projects over to communities ensures the sustainability of these initiatives after PACRES has closed. We also wish to thank the MNRE for a successful partnership over the duration of the project, without them these initiatives would not be possible. Vinaka vakalevu.”
PACRES aims to improve regional, national adaptation and mitigation solutions to climate change concerns faced in 15 Pacific ACP countries. The 15 Pacific ACP countries are: Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
The €12.18 million PACRES is funded primarily by the European Union (EU) (€12 million) with targeted support from Monaco and the Swiss Confederation and is delivered jointly by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programmme (SPREP), the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), the Pacific Community (SPC) and the University of the South Pacific (USP).
For more information on the PACRES project, please contact Semi Qamese, PACRES Project Manager at [email protected].