Minister Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster and Ambassador Fatumanava Pao Luteru
Island and Ocean Ecosystems

16 December 2022, Montreal Canada - Samoa has highlighted some of the key steps they have taken to conserve biodiversity in the Pacific island nation, demonstrating the kind of tangible action and leadership required to halt nature loss, and stop the collapse of ecosystems.

In addressing the High Level Segment of the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) in Montreal, Canada, Samoa’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Hon. Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster, reaffirmed Samoa’s commitments for the endorsement and implementation of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, currently being negotiated.

“We call for bold commitments from the global community to strengthen cooperation and elevate our actions to significantly reduce and reverse biodiversity loss. Without a doubt, we will continue to face new challenges as events around the world present new threats to environmental wellbeing, biological diversity and human livelihood,” Hon. Toeolesulusulu said.

“Samoa as a member of our Pacific family is evermore convinced that it is only through joint work with other regions under the guidance of the Convention, can we achieve our common goal in shaping the future of biodiversity, people and planet.”

Minister Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster

Hon. Toeolesulusulu said the Samoan Government has committed to protect 30% of its waters in ecologically representative and well-connected systems of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) through the implementation of the Samoa Ocean Strategy (SOS) and Marine Spatial Planning. Launched in 2020, the SOS is Samoa’s plan to better manage nature to ensure the health of the sea and our people. Working with key partners, it identifies priority areas that require immediate focus and long-term investment.

Samoa also highlighted its commitment to protect of over 30% of its terrestrial biodiversity which includes the establishment of International Bird Areas, Key Biodiversity Areas, watershed catchment areas, terrestrial nature and recreational reserves, National Parks and community-based conservation areas.

“This folds in well with our commitment in joining over 116 other countries as part of the 30 by 30 the High Ambition Coalition and Global Ocean Alliance which aims to protect at least 30% of the global ocean as Marine Protected Areas and Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs) by 2030,” the Minister of MNRE said.

But that’s not all. Samoa is also implementing its 3 million tree planting national campaign, a community based and led initiative with Government backing to support the ecological restoration of degraded ecosystems and as a nature-based solution to climate resilience.

The Samoan delegation

At COP15 on Thursday this week, Samoa with Seychelles and Cabo Verde, are co-leading the SIDS Coalition for Nature launched with a Call for Action to elevate and bring prominence to the special circumstances and structural development challenges faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The Coalition exists to advocate for agreed common SIDS priorities and needs such as greater means of implementing biodiversity objectives in negotiation spaces by putting up a unified front. The Coalition also recognises that SIDS host 19 per cent of the world’s coral reefs and their geographic isolation safeguards an array of endemic plants and animals found nowhere else on earth.

“Samoa reaffirms its commitment under the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing to facilitate and regulate access to Genetic Resources and associated Traditional Knowledge with resource owners remaining central to the process,” Minister Toeolesulusulu said.

“We hope that the collective efforts will be fruitful and the long-awaited deliberations due to COVID 19 pandemic will prove that we can rise to the challenges and achieve our goals to save our planet.”

The Fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) is held in Montreal, Canada from 7 – 19 December 2022.  Chaired by the Government of China, the CBD COP15 will result in a new Global Biodiversity Framework that will continue the Biodiversity Targets with the global goal of halting biodiversity loss.

Fourteen Pacific Islands countries are Party to the CBD. They are contributing to a unified One Pacific Voice on collective issues at COP15. The countries present in Montreal are the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Led by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), support to Pacific island countries has been implemented with technical input through the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation (PIRT),  and includes a One Pacific approach involving support from the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner, and the Pacific Community at COP15 with financial assistance from the Government of Australia and the ACP MEA Phase 3 Project funded by the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States for the ACP countries.