Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has officially opened the new Vaiala Seawall.
The opening, held yesterday evening, was attended by Members of the Parliament, Government officials, and representatives of the United Nations Development Programme (U.N.D.P).
The Vaiala Seawall was built as part of the “Enhancing Resilience to Climate Change” project financed by the Adaptation Fund and implemented by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E) with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (U.N.D.P).
Climate change is magnifying the environmental problems that coastal communities are facing in Samoa.
Three quarters of the national population resides along coastal areas that are highly susceptible to erosion and high sea level rise. Infrastructure and utility services also located in these zones are extremely vulnerable to intense climate events.
This project supports coastal communities all around the country to adapt to climate change through the revision and implementation of the Community Integrated Management (C.I.M) Plans.
In addition to critical infrastructure, this project aims to strengthening institutional climate and disaster risk policies and capacities, and capturing and disseminating lesson learnt based on local knowledge and experience.
Jaime de Aguinaga, Officer in Charge of U.N.D.P in Samoa, highlighted the critical link between adaptation and mitigation to climate change.
“Two days ago we celebrated the Renewable Energy Day and the commitment of the Government of Samoa to generate 100% of its electricity through renewable energy resources by 2017,” he said.
“Commitments like that one are critical to reduce the pace of climate change, but it is not enough. We also need to be ready for the forthcoming changes, and this seawall is an example of the support that the United Nations Development Programme and the Adaptation Fund are providing to protect our communities.”
The reconstruction of the Vaiala seawall started in June and was completed in November.