20 September 2023, Apia, Samoa. A national training on evaluating Protected Area Management Effectiveness (PAME) for Samoa commenced on Tuesday, 19 September 2023. The training is delivered by the Samoa Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) with support from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and aims to assess how effective Samoa’s protected areas are being managed and to determine actions to improve protected area management in Samoa, including both government-managed sites and community conserved areas.
The training was officially opened by the Chief Executive Officer of the MNRE, Ms Lealaisalanoa Frances Brown-Reupena. In her official remarks, Lealaisalanoa highlighted the significance of the training as a renewed effort to improve information and capacity for more effective protected area management and governance in Samoa.
The Director General of SPREP, Mr Sefanaia Nawadra, drew on his experience with protected areas in the Pacific region and shared insightful and inspiring examples from his homeland of Fiji. The Director General emphasised the importance of linking conservation initiatives and protected area establishment to the needs and priorities of local communities, given that a high percentage of land and sea in the Pacific falls under customary ownership.
Protected Areas (PAs) are one of the key tools to conserve biodiversity, build resilience to threats such as climate change and sustain essential ecosystem services. However, PAs are only effective if managed well. PAME evaluations can be defined as, “the evaluation of how well protected areas are being managed – primarily the extent to which management is protecting values and achieving goals and objectives”. Evaluation of management effectiveness is recognised as a vital component of responsive, and pro-active protected area management, and should be done on a regular and repeated basis.
Although Samoa currently has a relatively high percentage of protected and conserved areas, most of these areas are yet to be evaluated for management effectiveness and have limited or no updated status information currently available.
The training is being held for a wide range of participants with an interest in protected area management in Samoa with a particular focus on PA practitioners who are directly involved in protected and conserved area management. This includes Government staff as well as staff of national non-governmental organisations and local communities that manage community conservation areas (CCAs).
The training will be delivered over four days from September 19-22, and includes classroom as well as practical sessions on protected areas, their effective management, and related data needs.
Funding assistance for the Samoa National Training on Protected Area Management Effectiveness is provided by the ACP MEAs 3 project. The ACP MEAs programme is a joint partnership between the European Union, the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The programme aims to build capacity in 79 countries in Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) to support them in fulfilling their obligations as parties to Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), to address the environmental challenges they face and to reap the benefits of improved environmental governance at national and regional levels.
For further information about the ACPMEAs 3 project, please contact Ms. Anastacia Amoa-Stowers, Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) Coordinator on email: [email protected]