The government has been urged to consider accepting climate change refugees from small Pacific islands nearby.
The call comes from the Associate Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E), Faumuina Tiatia Liuga.
“Tokelau might say to us they want to migrate here because they have lost their island to rising sea level,” said Faumuina. “It might be the same with Niue as well, which means Samoa is a possible place for climate change refuges for our brothers in the Pacific.”
Speaking in Parliament yesterday, the M.P. for Palauli le Falefa, also suggested that perhaps now is the time for the government to consider setting up a new body called the Ministry of Climate Change.
The new Ministry, he said, should deal specifically with funding being given by donor agencies and countries to mitigate the impact of climate change.
“We don’t know if our children in the future might have trouble securing these international funds for the protection of our lands and to establish interisland access roads,” he said.
“As our Prime Minister has said before, these funds are not small. So if we utilise them well, they will help protect our country.”
Faumuina also raised the idea of an interisland access road. This would cut through the inlands of Savai’i so that the natural resources available there, including water, could be utilised.
As for the Salelologa wharf, Faumuina reiterated his earlier call for it to be converted into an international port.
This way, said Faumuina, people from Savai’i will stay there, reducing the need for them to migrate to Apia.
Lastly, Faumuina had a job at the Opposition party, bemoaning the decreasing number of their members. He expressed sympathy for their lost cause, saying he apologises for converting their members into H.R.P.P supporters.
But Tautua Samoa Party M.P., Papali’i Taeu Masipau questioned Faumuina.
“Is your group called the H.B or H.A,” he asked.
He did not say what H.B or H.A stood for.
Opposition leader, Palusalue Fa’apo II, said members of the Tautua Samoa Party are not cheap.
He said Faumuina has only claimed one.
Tautua Samoa M.P. Palusalue did not name the member.
Parliament continued last night.