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Samoa on track to achieve half of development goals

Samoa's second voluntary national review (V.N.R.) of the country’s implementation of the United Nations’ authored Sustainable Development Goals (S.D.G.) has concluded that Samoa is on track to achieve about 47 per cent of the selected global and national indicators used to measure progress in implementing the S.D.Gs.

A report titled “Samoa's Second Voluntary National Review on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals” was released by the Government last month and shows the progress that the country has made in terms of the internationally promoted human development benchmarks.

According to the report’s summary, “Samoa is either on track to or has achieved 47 percent of the selected global and national indicators used to measure progress on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The report added that: “Education is compulsory and fee-free for public schools and there is universal access to primary education. There is almost universal access to clean water, sanitation, roads and electricity and less mothers are dying at childbirth. 

"More women than men are in senior management in the public sector, more children with disabilities enrolled in schools and enhanced resilience to disasters and climate change is fully integrated across all sectors and at the community level.  There is also increased domestic financing and stable O.D.A. and F.D.I. levels.”

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, said the report recognises that progress that the country is making towards achieving the S.D.Gs is an incremental process, and that measurement of progress is not always continuous as data sets for indicators often come from periodic surveys, sometimes five or ten years apart. 

"Our second V.N.R. report demonstrates strong political leadership to contextualise and integrate multiple universal commitments, it informs us in advocacy and engagement of the issues and shines a spotlight on where we are at improving the quality of the lives of our people ensuring empowerment, inclusiveness and equality,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, said investing in our people, infrastructure and essential services have been the cornerstone of Samoa’s development journey by which Samoa has achieved some positive results. 

Tuilaepa added that while the report is useful to keep track of the Government’s own performance benchmarked against international and regional indicators, he said it will play an important role in discussions on Samoa’s development challenges and priorities.

“Whilst the report is useful for international and regional benchmarking, its real value is that it is part of Samoa’s national planning, monitoring and review process and is a useful basis for national discussion and actions to address key development challenges and priorities identified,” he stated in his message published in the report. 

“Building on synergies and addressing gaps to ensure better prioritisation will help galvanise support for implementing the SDGs thus addressing poverty eradication, support the delivery of quality basic services, mobilise climate action, and lead to more effective inclusion. More importantly, it helps ensure that we ‘leave no one behind’.”

The impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic was also not lost on the Prime Minister, who wrote in his message that Samoa is facing “unprecedented times” which is testing the fabric of the nation.

“Universally we are in trying, unprecedented times. The circumstances the world is facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic have tested the very mettle of our nations and governments beyond any limits that we have known in our lifetime,” he wrote. “For Samoa, the COVID-19 pandemic arrived while we were still responding and recovering from another health crisis – the measles epidemic that took 83 young lives and affected over 5,000 people. We are already seeing evidence of the direct impact of COVID-19 on our people and their livelihoods reversing some of our hard-fought progress since the MDGs, slowing our efforts towards sustainable development. This is the greatest challenge before us. 

“But we remain confident, that in unity as a ‘one UN’ family, we can adapt to any new normal. We believe that it is during these times of global uncertainty and crisis that the world needs a truly ‘United Nations’.”

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