The Ministry of Finance of Samoa, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Green Climate Fund, has launched a new climate change adaptation project to build resilience against adverse weather events, caused by climate change, which will benefit nearly 30% of the population, according to the UNDP
The Ministry of Finance of Samoa, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Green Climate Fund, has launched a new climate change adaptation project to build resilience against adverse weather events, caused by climate change, which will benefit nearly 30% of the population, according to the UNDP.
The Commonwealth country of Samoa, a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), is increasingly vulnerable to intense tropical storms, highly variable rainfall and rising sea levels.
Its size, remoteness and concentration of population and infrastructure in low-lying coastal areas exacerbated damage to livelihoods and resources when Category 3 Cyclone Evan hit in 2012, causing damage of 40% of national GDP.
Urban infrastructure in the country has suffered significantly from recurrent flooding.
Green Climate Fund is financing a US$65 million project supporting climate-resilient development in SIDS – US$57.7 million of this fund is combining with $8 million from the Samoan Government to lay the foundations of a flood management programme.
It will pay for drainage, sewerage systems, bridges and river floodwalls for the flood-prone river catchments of Apia, the country’s capital.
It will also contribute to a flood-related health surveillance system and better building practices
Advanced early warning systems are also needed, as currently they only cover tsunamis and earthquakes and not extreme flooding in communities along the Vaisigano River.
Government ministries, community organisations and builders associations are also involved in the project’s design, which has been supported by the New Zealand and Australian governments.
UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Lizbeth Cullity said that the project aims to protect schools, hospitals, homes and businesses along the Vaisigano River.
Through the project the Government of Samoa will also be able to make future risk-informed decisions on flood management.
Ewen McDonald, Co-Chair of the Green Climate Fund Board, said: “The Green Climate Fund was created to make a significant and ambitious contribution to meeting the goals set by the international community to combat climate change.
“We are focused on supporting particularly vulnerable developing countries, like Samoa, in a paradigm shift to a more climate-resilient future.”