Samoa celebrates World Water and Forests Day

The significance of Samoa’s water and forest resources were highlighted during the commemoration of World Water and Forests Day 2019 on Friday.

The ceremony was held at the Water Resources Division Field office at Vailima where the Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, who is also the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), spoke about the the importance of commemorating this annual event.

“The month of March every year has become an eventful month for the MNRE, as we commemorate back to back United Nation-sanctioned awareness days for Forests, Water and Meteorology.

“For four years now, Samoa has commemorated World Water Day and International Day of Forests together, a strategic undertaking given the issues pertaining to, and the outcomes for the protection and management of the two resources are similar.

“The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘leaving no one behind through Sustainable water and forest management education’ – it aligns with promoting education on sustainable water and forest management through all levels,” Fiame stated.

The Deputy Prime said that it promotes to the community from the grassroots to the policy and decision makers.

“It also involves everyone especially the often marginalized groups such as the elderly, women, children, refugees, indigenous people, people with disabilities, the unemployed and many others that are usually overlooked, and sometimes face discrimination as they try to access needed resources.

“It also emphasises the important services that water, our forest resources, and natural environment as a whole provide, in alleviating poverty, and in adapting to the changing environment, extreme climate change and natural disasters,” she added.

She said the theme emphasises the urgency in raising the water and forest profiles within island states especially in light of the increasing impacts of climate change and natural disasters.

“Knowing the importance of forests in controlling and maintaining critical ecosystem services such as water supply and linkages between water quality and health are key take home messages for this year’s campaign, as Samoa strives to improve access to good quality and reliable water and sanitation services.

“Similarly, this year’s campaign will build on previous efforts in educating the public on the importance of sustainable upland forest and watershed management, to ensuring the sustainable development of our urban environments.

“It also re-affirms the importance of our hinterlands to the economic development of the urban setting, especially the impacts of unsustainable land management. Nature provides the natural services we require for water security as well as flood water management."

The programme featured intensive educational activities promoting water and forest conservation through an educational journey by students from various schools like Samoa College and Avele College through the Vailima Reserve and Le Pupu i Pue National Park. 

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