Submitted by leannem on Wed, 09/25/2019 - 21:21
PRiMO breakout session
September 25, 2019 by leannem
Climate Change Resilience

24 September 2019, American Samoa – The crucial role of natural and cultural resources for community resilience was discussed during a working group at the Pacific Risk Management `Ohana (PRiMO) in American Samoa on day one.

Natural and Cultural Resource Recovery is one of the five themes of the American Samoa Resilience Plan guided by the National Disaster Recovery Framework, along with infrastructure, health and social services, housing and economic recovery.

The PRiMO is a collection of over 100 organizations that participate in an ongoing effort to collaborate and channel efforts towards common goals to bring about community resilience in the face of the many natural and man-made challenges across the Pacific islands.

Every two years members of PRiMO meet and this year it is hosted in American Samoa for the third time since PRiMO was formed in 2003, with a focus on ‘Weaving a path to “precovery” in American Samoa bringing together over 150 meeting delegates.

It is hoped that responsible agencies at all levels of government and their important private sector partners will support recovery plans and priorities of communities on American Samoa by developing a Natural and Cultural Resources action plan.  This plan will identify how the agencies leverage resources and capabilities to meet the needs of the community.

“One way we plan to bridge the role of our natural resources and our culture to enhance our Pacific resilience is through the Lotonuu Campaign which we aim to launch this year,” said Mrs Kim McGuire-Woo Ching of the American Samoa Coral Reef Advisory Group (CRAG).

“The Lotonuu Campaign will be the vehicle to encourage many positive outcomes as we call upon our local communities here to reconnect with our environment as stewards.  We hope it brings a harmonious relationship of give and take between the land, the ocean, and its people in American Samoa for a sustainable way of life.  Lotonuu means to love, respect, and have pride in your land and ocean.”

The CRAG is a formalized collaboration of five different agencies all of which have links to the coral reef environment and management.  These are the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (DMWR), the Department of Commerce, American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA), the American Samoa Community College and the National Parks of American Samoa. 

The Lotonuu Campaign was just one of the many different issues raised during discussions by the natural and cultural resource recovery working group.  Other concerns raised included the need to continue and strengthen the traditional methods of sustainability as these will be valuable during times of disasters when modern facilities such as electricity or access to imported foods are not available.

“For us in American Samoa, our traditional knowledge and the linkages between our environment has a valuable role in precovery, we now need to know how best to enhance and strengthen this knowledge so we can ‘bounce back’ after a disaster hits,” said Ms. Elinor Lutu-McMoore, Meteorologist in Charge of the National Weather Service Office in American Samoa.

“We must also be mindful that while there is traditional knowledge that can build our resilience which is commonly known across American Samoa, there are also different sets of knowledge that different villages have on how best to survive in the face of natural hazards.  Learning and collaborating with each other can help strengthen resiliency in times of disasters.”

The working group discussions on the different thematic areas on day one focused on learning from past lessons on what has been done well and what can be improved as well what is needed to make this happen.  On day two the outcomes of these discussions will be presented to the PRiMO meeting overall. - #ASPRiMO19

The Pacific Risk Management `Ohana (PRiMO) Conference is being held from 24 – 26 September 2019 at the American Samoa Community College in Pago Pago, American Samoa.  For more information on PRiMO please visit https://coast.noaa.gov/primo/conference/ or https://primo2019.uhtasi.org/