The SPREP team with some participants from PUMA
Environmental Monitoring and Governance

23 August 2022, Apia - The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP) continues to promote the application of environmental planning and assessment tools, to support its member countries and territories, in their quest for sustainable development.

Samoa, through the Planning and Urban Management Agency (PUMA), has become the latest SPREP member country to benefit from capacity building, mentorship, and support on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and sustainable planning tools, facilitated by SPREP’s Environmental Monitoring and Governance (EMG) Programme.

The training and mentorship programme, which began with only three staff members, has attracted significant interest from PUMA staff and now includes several key staff from the Agency, which sits under the Ministry of Works, Transport, and Infrastructure (MWTI). The weekly sessions were led by SPREP’s Director for the EMG, Mr Jope Davetanivalu, and the Pacific Network for Environmental Assessment (PNEA) Technical Support Officer, Mr Ivan Diarra.

The sessions which are conducted using an informal Talanoa format, provides an open forum for discussion and encourages questions, feedback, and suggestion from participants where they feel empowered to share aspects of their work and directly seek support.

The sessions are held during staff lunch break or after working hours so as not to interfere with PUMA staff working hours. Since commencing in May, the training has covered several aspects and topics on EIA including Strengthening Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement mechanisms in Samoa, Environmental Bonds, Risk assessment for EIA studies, registration of EIA consultants, amongst others.

Ms Della Savai’inaea, the Principal Compliance Monitoring Enforcement Officer for PUMA, and a keen participant in the trainings conveyed her appreciation to SPREP for providing the support.

“Due to the nature of our work, we don’t get many opportunities for capacity building and mentorship,” she said. “We thank Jope and Ivan for making the effort to come down to the office to discuss and unpack these important issues, and we are very appreciative of this unique opportunity.”

PUMA is responsible for developing and enforcing integrated and formal system of plans, policies, and guidelines to facilitate sound and orderly planning at a range of levels. SPREP recognises the need for capacity building and support to PUMA, particularly with the significant increase in projects development activities in Samoa.  

PUMA, which is governed by the Planning and Urban Management Act (2004) – regulates and enforces the application of strategic urban planning tools such as planning provisions, plans, and development standards; development consent and compliance of development activity; environmental impact control and compliance and established the planning tribunal and also provided enforcement provisions.

For further details on the training, please contact Mr Jope Davetanivalu, Director for Environmental Monitoring and Governance, [email protected]; or Mr Ivan Diarra, PNEA Technical Support Officer, [email protected].