Awareness against land degradation raised in Savai'i

Seventeen villages in Savai'i have been presented with sign boards to encourage them to protect the environment, especially against the impact of land degradation.  

The official handing over was held Wednesday at Lano, Savai’i, through the Strengthening Multi Sectoral Management of Critical Landscapes (S.M.S.M.C.L.) project.

Pa’o Talie Foliga, Project Manager for S.M.S.M.C.L. spoke on behalf of the Ministry and funding partners on the significance of the event.

“The main purpose of these (sign boards) is to make our people in Savai'i aware of the effects of degradation of our coastal areas,” said Pa’o.

“It is the work and responsibility of our communities to try and preserve our coastal areas and to protect us from impacts of climate changes.

“Moreover, it is our aim to enhance the knowledge of our people here in ways to protect our coastal areas not only for today, but for the future.

“As you are aware, we need to protect our coastal areas from sea level rise and high waves. Through these sign boards, we hope it would remind our people not only in the villages who received the sign boards, but also people travelling and passing by.”

Pa’o believes that collective effort is key in achieving their goals, hence the support of the villages is much appreciated.

“We need to protect our coastal areas and our oceans. And to do so, we also need to consider what we do on the lands, because the truth is, whatever happens at the top of the mountains, it will flow down and reaches our oceans.

“This can destroy the lives of the animals and specie living there.

“That is why we are happy to work with our communities because we all need to work together and achieve our goals together.”

The 17 villages that received the sign boards are part of the 120 villages under the project in Samoa.

Pa’o said most of these villages made requests during their site visits.

The village mayors for all the 17 villages each spoke on behalf of their village, thanking the project for such great achievement and wished them well with their remaining projects.

This S.M.S.M.C.L project is expected to be completed next year, and Pa’o said, they are now in the final stages of their project.

“Most of the work for this project has been ticked off our list.

“We’ve worked hard to encourage the area of sustainable farming, and also encouraging the villages to have pigsties for their pigs and a place to keep their cows, to stop them from roaming around and destroying our lands, plants and gardens.

“We’ve also worked together with the help of other agencies in planting more trees for the future, the Two Million Trees Campaign through the M.N.R.E.

“So right now, we’ve done the planning and implementation part, but for the remaining months of this project, we will be looking at monitoring all the work that we’ve done throughout this project. 

“We will also be conducting surveys writing reports to United Nations Development Programme (U.N.D.P.) and Global Environment Facility (G.E.F.) as they provided sponsor and funding for this project.”

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