The World Symposium on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Strategies in Coastal Communities was officially opened by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi at the Tanoa Tusitala yesterday morning.
The Symposium focuses on managing climate change in coastal regions, meaning that it will serve the purpose of showcasing experiences from research, field projects and best practice to foster climate change adaptation in coastal areas and communities which may be useful or implemented.
During Tuilaepa’s speech he highlighted that Samoa has been proactively involved with the international and regional efforts to address climate change and natural disasters.
“The crucial message remains, that nations must not be complacent in their own isolated parts of the world but instead must continue to implement high levels of commitment through domestic actions which plan to protect the most vulnerable communities particularly those which are constantly affects by sea level rise, the loss of land, drought and extreme weather events.”
“Samoan communities are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. These vulnerabilities however can be minimized through interventions that aim to adapt our community’s current way of living against the precious of a valuable climate.”
In an interview with the Chair of the Symposium, Professor Dr. Walter Leal he said that Climate Change affects small island states in a very great manner.
“The fact that they have sea level rise on one hand but also storm search on the other which means there is a great risk to property and to livelihoods.
“The idea behind this Symposium is to re-extend climate change impacts across the community but also to look at solutions and best ideas to try and cope with it, hence why we are here together.
“We have here the participants from around the Pacific, North America, Asia, and Europe who came together disseminate what’s happening in terms of best practice and try to implement them.”
Professor Walter went on to say that the Symposium is to give the participants the chance to discuss what they are currently doing to resolve the issues.
“At the end of this meeting I’m compiling a book document and will disseminate the actual work that is happening in Samoa and elsewhere,” he told the Samoa Observer.
Professor Walter was also asked for his opinion on President Donald Trump’s perspective on Climate Change.
“Well we feel a bit sad to note the whole problem about Climate Change and the consequences are not very clear yet to him,” he said.
“Hopefully in the coming years, things will become clearer and maybe he might revise his decision.
“Leaders of the world are meeting in Germany on Friday and Saturday for a meeting called G20 and all Head of Sates are meeting in Germany in the hope that there will be a new momentum in terms of giving climate change the attention it deserves.
“I also hope that the current work we are doing will continue because it is successful.”