Villages encouraged to take ownership of Vaisigano project

The Government has urged leaders from the villages covered under the Green Climate Fund Vaisigano Catchment Project (G.C.F-V.C.P.) to take ownership of it.

The message came from the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Finance, Leasiosiofa’asisina Oscar Malielegaoi, during a consultation led by the Ministry of Finance via the G.C.F.-V.C.P. Project Management Unit (P.M.U) at the Tooa Salamasina Hall on Wednesday.

“We strongly believe that as you are the key beneficiaries of this project, it is imperative to keep you updated of the project overall scope, planned activities and the progress to date,” the Chief Executive Officer said.

“We value your involvement and contribution to this important project of our Government. We want you to take ownership of this project as it ultimately belongs to you and benefit your villages, communities and individual households within the Vaisigano River Catchment area.”

The consultation was attended by Government representatives in the villages, Village Council representatives, women, people with disabilities and youth. They came from 31 villages from Afiamalu East (upper catchment), to Matautu, Vaiala and Moata'a (lower catchment), which are covered under the G.C.F-V.C.P. area.

During the consultation, Leasiosiofaasisina reminded the participants that the project is for their benefit and it is to protect them in the long run.

He said the impact of climate change is becoming more and more profound which means the Government needs to be proactive to protect Samoans and all residents from the harmful impact of flooding.

Residents living near the Vaisigano river have suffered a great during the past two major cyclones in Samoa as a result of flooding from the river. Many family homes were swept away, businesses destroyed and lives have been lost as a result.

Mayor of Magiagi village, Fetulima Malopito Kopelani, said their village supported the project, pointing out that if it protects lives, they are all for it.

According to a press release from the Project, G.C.F.-V.C.P. is a 5-year project with funding of US$65.7 million (T$162.5m) by the G.C.F. and the Government of Samoa.

It is supported by U.ND.P., which aims at strengthening target communities’ capacity to adapt, build resilience and reduce exposure to flooding brought about by the impacts of climate change.

A number of Government bodies are involved including the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment, Ministry of Works, Transport & Infrastructure, Land Transport Authority, Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development.

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