Samoa Lacks Skilled People To Take Advantage Of Climate Change Infrastructure Funding

SPREP conducts region's first Climate Change Finance Forum in Apia

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, May 17, 2017) – A two day Climate Change Finance Forum has been told that Samoa has no problem in securing funds from donor agencies, but finding the skilled people to the job is the problem that needs to be addressed.

This was according to Peseta Noumea Simi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade who spoke at the forum.

“Our people lack the skills needed to implement major infrastructural projects,” she said.

This was the first Climate Change Finance Forum for the Pacific and Peseta believes that because Samoa is ahead in many developments in the region, the organizer of the Forum, the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) decided to hold it in Samoa first.

The Forum was basically on financing climate change projects and was attended by government officials, various environmental agencies, Non Government Organisations, private sector and donor agencies.

The first part of the Forum was discussing opportunities for funding of climate change projects, and according to Peseta, climate change is not just the weather, but includes the agricultural side, food security, development of seawalls and other structures to protect against natural disasters.

SPREP in collaboration with other donor agencies, are looking at ways for small island countries to access funds easily through Climate Change project proposals.

For Samoa, they are using the opportunity at the Forum to find ways address the problem of not having skilled local people to manage local developments, without looking overseas for assistance.

Asked how the problem can be solved, Peseta said for government to work with her partners, or contract locals from the private sector who have such skills.

There was also a session for the private sector and NGO’s to speak on their partnership with the Government over such projects, and whilst NGO’s commended the government for their assistance with their projects and programs, there are times when “doors are hard to open.”

NGO’s also raised the lack of participation from NGO’s to voice their views when it comes to sector planning, but what caught the attention of the participants, was when it was raised that Government should look at projects and developments from the perspective of the community, and not from the lens of the donors.

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