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World Bank, Government of Samoa Launch Climate Resilience Program

February 7, 2014

SYDNEY, February 7, 2014 ----- Today at a ceremony in Sydney, a new project was launched to support climate change adaptation measures for coastal communities in Samoa. The grant agreement was signed at the World Bank office by World Bank Country Director for the Pacific Islands, Franz Drees-Gross and the High Commissioner for Samoa, H.E. Lemalu Tate Simi.

The Independent State of Samoa is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and natural disasters, with 70 percent of the population living within a kilometer of the coast. Approximately 80 percent of the country’s 400 km coastline is at risk from erosion, flooding, or landslides, meaning climate-related events, including tropical cyclones and storm surges, pose a significant threat to people’s lives, their livelihoods, and to development.

The US$14.6 million program will assist 45,000 Samoans in coastal communities in adapting to climate change and climate variability; protect coastal infrastructure; and increase awareness about climate change impacts and adaptation activities among communities, civil society and government.

“The World Bank is committed to helping small island states manage pressing risks from natural disasters and climate change,” said Drees-Gross. “Through the Climate Investment Funds, we are proud to support Samoa in critical efforts to increase the resilience of coastal communities and infrastructure, which could help protect their very survival as well as long-term development.” 

The project will provide trainings and support in targeted communities to update and implement local Coastal Infrastructure Plans, and for activities that increase the resilience of coastlines, near-shore areas, and coral reefs. It will offer community grants of up to US$22,700 for village-level projects that target coastal resilience, for example planting activities, mangrove rehabilitation, improved water storage, or the relocation of small infrastructure, and up to US$227,000 for more complex multi-village activities.

Additionally the project will help improve national climate information services and hazard mapping, through financing of a comprehensive light detection and ranging system (LiDAR) throughout the country.

“This project takes on the dual role of infrastructure and adaptation activities as well as education and awareness raising activities, which impress upon our people the importance of being climate aware,” said H.E. Lemalu Tate Simi. “With so much of our coastline vulnerable to weather and climate-related events, this project is necessary to ensure our future resilience and development.” 

Samoa consists of four inhabited and five uninhabited islands and has a population of around 195,000 people. This project will operate in 99 villages in 16 districts on the most populous islands, Upolu and Savai'i.

The Enhancing the Climate Resilience of Coastal Resources and Communities Project is being financed through a US$14.6 million grant from the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) of the Strategic Climate Fund (PPCR), which is one of two funds within the framework of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF). The CIF is a multi-donor facility supported by fourteen countries.

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In Sydney
Laura Keenan