Work starts on next State of Environment Report

By Alexander Rheeney 27 September 2022, 10:20PM

Work has begun on Samoa's State of Environment (S.O.E.) Report with Government representatives and non-government organisation representatives in a consultation workshop.

The workshop run from 20–22 September 2022 was led by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.) in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.), according to a press release issued by the regional organisation.

The M.N.R.E. Chief Executive Officer, Lealaisalanoa Frances Brown-Reupena, said the consultation is vital as there is a need for the condition of Samoa's environment to be known.

“It is very important that we understand the condition of our environment, so we can look into interventions to implement over the years," Ms. Brown-Reupena said.

"Key recommendations identified in the S.O.E. will help us to decide policy actions. The crucial part of this work involves an update of the 3rd National Environment Sector Plan (N.E.S.P.) which is a response framework that will address recommendations identified in the S.O.E."

The draft S.O.E. report is the 4th national assessment of the environment of Samoa since the last reporting was done in 2013. Using an integrated approach, the report provides an overview of the status of the environment through five thematic areas: Climate and Disaster Risk Reduction, Culture and Heritage, built environment, Environment Governance, and Natural Environment.

Ms. Brown-Reupena also credited the valuable input and efforts of stakeholders, both government and non-government organisations in this crucial stage of the process, to ensure that the national report is precise and truthful for reporting against national priorities as well as regional and international reporting obligations.

The S.P.R.E.P. Environmental Monitoring and Governance Programme DirectorJope Davetanivalu, acknowledged the leadership of the Samoa Government to begin this process for the next S.O.E. report.

“The Secretariat acknowledges the great leadership by the Government of Samoa through M.N.R.E. and strong partnership amongst national stakeholders in leading the way and for taking bold steps to enhance environmental decision making and reporting through the development of this 4th assessment of the environment since the 2013 S.O.E.," he said.

As the regional agency for the environment in the Pacific, one of the core function of the S.P.R.E.P. is to promote cooperation in the region and support member countries, including Samoa in developing their national S.O.E. to strengthen informed and data driven decision and policy making.

Using the DPSIR (Drivers, Pressures, State, Impacts) response model for reporting, the report identifies key drivers and pressures behind the changing environment of Samoa.

It documents the impacts resulting from changes, and recommendations and responses to address key challenges to strengthen national resilience. The indicators used in the report are those considered to best provide an overview of environmental issues in the context of Samoa. Data available for assessing trends of indicators over years are examined with each indicator aiming to provide a measure of the current environmental situation to highlight whether the state of the environment is getting better or worse.

Throughout the validation workshop, stakeholders were grouped into the SOE thematic areas in line with their respective areas of expertise to review the status and trends of the related environmental indicators in the draft report. This includes the identification of data gaps and data sources, ensuring the information and data are accurately reported and interpreted in the assessment to best represent the condition of each indicator, as well as providing recommendations for suitable actions to address environmental issues.

Samoa is one of the 14 Pacific Island member countries under the Inform project to conduct another assessment since its last S.O.E. Report published in 2013. Feedback and input received from the three-days workshop will be incorporated in the draft S.O.E. report by Matt McIntyre, the consultant working closely with M.N.R.E., stakeholders, partners and S.P.R.E.P. to develop and finalise the assessment before submission to the Cabinet for approval.

By Alexander Rheeney 27 September 2022, 10:20PM
Samoa Observer

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