Battling it out on biodiversity

By Ilia L. Likou ,

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PROMOTING THE ENVIRONMENT: A.N.Z.Bank’s Mathew Fisher; Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, Rev. Muao Fagasua, M.N.R.E.’s Suluimalo Amataga Penaia and U.N.’s Lizbeth Cullity.

PROMOTING THE ENVIRONMENT: A.N.Z.Bank’s Mathew Fisher; Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, Rev. Muao Fagasua, M.N.R.E.’s Suluimalo Amataga Penaia and U.N.’s Lizbeth Cullity.

Vailele Primary School and Safata College battled their way to the top of the International Day for Biological Diversity – Battle of the Mind competitions.

The celebration this year Diversity was dedicated to the national theme of "Building Sustainable Livelihoods for Tomorrow".

The five primary schools competing were  Vailele, Palauli, Vaitele, Aopo and Falese’ela while the four colleges were Safata, Chanel, Mata’aevave and Aleipata Colleges.

The questions were based on environmental issues that helped to remind us to conserve the environment. Fifteen year-old, Malae Falefou of Mata’aevave College from Savai’i said that “the competition is not just about competing.”

“The knowledge should be passed on from generation to generation.”

“Biodiversity refers to the variety of flora and fauna that make up the ecosystem and I believe that conserving the ecosystem in our country is very important.”

“Therefore, promoting conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity as mentioned before should be pass on to generation to generation,

“It’s not just something to commemorate today then forget tomorrow but it’s a must to learn and let our people live it.

“Our people need to understand and have awareness about biodiversity issues. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has been promoting sustainable management of biological diversity since becoming a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity 1992 (CBD). 

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa stated in her remarks that Biodiversity Day is a day of connecting people with nature.

“It's an opportunity to remind ourselves of the fundamental role of biodiversity to life on earth and the livelihoods and well-being of our people,” Fiame stated.

“For this reason, we need to better integrate biodiversity into how we think and into everything that we do to prevent its loss.  Samoa's flora consists of 500 species of native flowering plants and about 220 species of ferns, making it one of the most diverse collections of flora in the Polynesia. 

“The status of fauna and flora in Samoa is in decline which has attracted much attention for continuous protection and conservation efforts.

Eleven terrestrial and 65 marine species found in Samoa are listed as globally threatened on the 2009 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 

 “Some of these species, such as the Ma'oma'o and the Manumea are found nowhere else in the world.

 The main threats to Samoa biodiversity include: (1) coastal pollution, (2) land-use changes, (3)over-exploitation of natural resources, (4) natural disasters and the (5) spread of invasive species. 

ENVIRONMENTAL KNOWLEDGE: Primary School students battle it out during the competition on the International Day for Biological Diversity.
ENVIRONMENTAL KNOWLEDGE: Primary School students battle it out during the competition on the International Day for Biological Diversity.

The adoption of Samoa's National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan 2015 - 2020 (NBSAP) by Cabinet provides the key framework that underpins conservation and sustainable use of our biological diversity. 

This national biodiversity strategy is not only aligned with the CBD Global Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2010-2020 but also contributed to achieving the relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Results;

Primary:

1st place – Vailele Primary School

2nd place – Palauli Primary School

3rd place – Vaitele Primary School

4th place – Aopo Primary School

5th place – Falease’ela 

Primary School

College:

1st place – Safata College

2nd place – Chanel College

3rd place – Mataaevave College

4th place – Aleipata College

© Samoa Observer 2016

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