The lush greenery of the Samoa Cultural Centre, A’ai o Aganu’u Samoa was the picture perfect setting for the recent launch of the Small Grants Programme Sub-Regional Strategy 2015-2018 for Samoa, Tokelau and Niue.
The launch was organised by the Small Grants Programme (S.G.P) of the United Nations Development Programme (U.N.D.P) funded by the Global Environment Facility (G.E.F).
The G.E.F Small Grants Programme provides financial and technical support to communities and civil society organisations (C.S.Os) to meet the overall objective of global environmental benefits secured through community-based initiatives and actions.
The Sub-Regional Strategy document provides a framework for actions that are initiated and driven by civil society organizations and communities to achieve local, national and global benefits for the environment, and with over-arching goal to build resilience and reduce vulnerabilities for island communities.
The new Strategy will give priority to the most vulnerable communities, to national priorities and to the integrated management of natural resources.
In her opening remarks, Lizbeth Cullity, UN Resident Coordinator and U.N.D.P Resident Representative emphasized that the U.N.D.P Multi-Country Office is committed to working with national governments, civil society and other development partners to identify opportunities to build resilience and reduce vulnerabilities to communities.
“The four-year strategy of G.E.F S.G.P is expected to generate powerful and influential community actions that can be replicated in other communities with the hope that other partners and all sectors work alongside the S.G.P and civil society groups to secure harmonized efforts towards preserving our environment,” said Ms. Cullity.
The Strategy was the result of numerous consultations with representatives from government, N.G.Os, C.S.Os, farmer groups, private sector and regional organisations (S.P.R.E.P and U.N.D.P), which were facilitated by a team of consultants from the National University of Samoa Faculty of Science.
Associate Minister for the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development, Lio Foleni Lio was special guest at the launch of the S.G.P Sub-regional Strategy.
The A.C.E.O for Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Anne Rasmussen, emphasized that G.E.F S.G.P is grounded in the belief that community-driven and civil society led initiatives generate environmental benefits while at the same time support sustainable livelihoods and local empowerment, two very effective ways to address global environmental challenges.
Members of the diplomatic corps, heads of civil society and private sector organizations, community organisations, academia and distinguished guests were also present at the launch.