The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program or SPREP will be spearheading the Pacific Climate Change Centre Project funded by Japan though their Aid Assistance programme.
Today, the official signing of the grant to build the multimillion dollar project took place with the Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Japan and Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.
“Samoa faces a deadly disease, one that can’t be cured with a vaccine. Climate change is affecting the Pacific the most because of our vulnerability. This center will make the efforts to combating Climate Change a lot easier and puts more focus on the task at hand,” said Tuilaepa.
“While Samoa has consistently developed agriculture, forestry and fisheries as well as tourism as its main growth sectors, it faces economic challenges from a significant trade deficit along with vulnerabilities to natural disasters such as cyclones, floods, earthquakes and subsequent tsunamis and impacts of climate change,” said Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Japan, Masamazu Hamachi.
“Therefore, enhanced resilience is one of the most important issues for Samoa’s development,” he said.
The Climate Change Centre Project aims to enhance the operational capacity of the Centre through improving the skills and expertise of all Pacific Islands developing states, in applied research training and policy initiatives.
The centre will be based at SPREP headquarters at Vaoala and will cater for the Pacific.
“The centre isn’t about just targeting issues pertaining to Samoa, this is about the Pacific as a whole. Its function is to serve the Pacific by trainings and skill improvement, especially with building resilience. I’m thankful for the support of the Japanese government,” said SPREP Director General Kosi Latu.
The project is well aligned to the prioritized areas of Japan’s assistance namely “disaster prevention”, “environment” and “climate change” that were declared by the Government of Japan at the 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM7) in 2015.