Environment issues on the agenda

By Mathias Huckert 19 August 2016, 12:00AM

Environment concerns all of us. Especially in a country like Samoa, due to its isolation in Pacific ocean where it is vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

As such, the environment as an issue is critical.

Within this context, Leadership Samoa has taken over the reins and set up a two-day long Forum about Samoa’s environment at T.A.T.T.E. Building in Apia. 

The Forum features many high-level speakers from a cross section of Samoa's authorities on environment, urban management, and scientific research organisations. 

Along with statistics collected and provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, a curriculum was developed to address the most important issues of environmental change in the country for A.C.E.Os and members of the private sector.

The process of choosing the right topics for this year’s forum started early, as Leadership Samoa’s C.E.O Seumanu Douglas Ngau Chun said.

“Every year when Leadership Samoa is completed, we start sending out our surveys to former participants, who already have taken part in the program. From there we conduct the research on the daily issues Samoa is facing,” he said.

This time, those issues were based on Samoa’s environment. 

“We always mind to include this topic, simply because it is one of the biggest sectors here in Samoa and we think that it’s vital for every member of Leadership Samoa to have a fair idea of the role and responsibilities of the Ministry itself and its divisions as well.”

According to Seumanu, the Forum serves as a “platform for emerging leaders to appreciate the bigger picture of the pressing developmental issues facing [the] nation today.”

M.N.R.E.’s C.E.O, Suluimalo Amataga Penaia gave a brief overview about the government plans for improving the country’s environment.

“The term ‘environment’ includes everything that is surrounding us, from the air, the sea and the land to the atmosphere,” he said, adding that the Ministry’s role is the one of a regulator and administrator for Samoa’s environment, but also as an advisor and advocate at the same time.

In order to fulfil this role, the C.E.O spoke about the cooperation with divisions like Samoa’s Meteorological Services, the Disaster Management Office or the Renewable Energy Division takes over an important part of M.N.R.E.’s work to maintain the country’s environmental stability.

Other presentations of the forum included an introduction of the work done by S.T.E.C. (Samoa Trust Estate Corporation) to explain the Corporation’s role in sustainably using Samoa's environmental assets.

Hosting organisation Leadership Samoa also stressed the importance of urban management in the context of the country’s environment. As a result of this, today’s last day of the forum will highlight the most recent developments in Apia and its surrounding areas in view of urban management plans introduced by A.C.E.O of the Planning and Urban Management Agency, Tole’afoa Fetoloai Yandall-Alama.

By Mathias Huckert 19 August 2016, 12:00AM
Samoa Observer

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