Posted inStory / Samoa

Samoan youth and experts share experiences to promote climate actions

Samoan youth and experts shared the reality of climate change with students in Japan to amplify the movement towards achieving the 1.5°C limit

Students from Yokohama Commercial High School in Japan have learned valuable lessons and insights into the reality of climate change in the Pacific thanks to a webinar on Thursday 18 November 2021.

The “How Do We Face the Reality of Climate Emergency? – Learning from Insights from Samoa” webinar, hosted by the Pacific Climate Change Centre Project for Capacity Building on Climate Resilience in the Pacific (CBCRP-PCCC) in collaboration with Samoa’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), was attended by 40 students from Japan. 

The Samoan youth were represented by Okalani Mariner and Niccolo Moeono.

Through the webinar, the Japanese students deepened their knowledge on climate change, gained tips for changing their behaviors, and discussed how they can amplify the movement towards achieving the 1.5°C limit. 

Ofa Ma’asi-Kaisamy, Manager of the PCCC, emphasised the importance of youth participation.  

“The adopted Glasgow COP26 Climate Pact urges us to ensure meaningful youth participation and representation in multilateral, national and local decision-making processes. Youth is already a key player and is strongly expected to play much more critical role in every front of climate action,” Ma’asi-Kaisamy said.

Part of the webinar focused on the impacts of climate change and climate policies in Samoa. Kotoni Faasau, from the Meteorology Office, explained the observed and projected climate change in Samoa in terms of temperature, rainfall, sea level rise, sea surface temperature, ocean acidification, tropical cyclones, droughts and flooding. 

Toiata Uili, Assistant Chief Executive Officer of the Renewable Energy Division, MNRE discussed mitigation policies and strategy. She referred to Samoa’s Second Nationally Determined Contribution, which was recently submitted to the UNFCCC and some ongoing mitigation projects on the ground. 

Lastly, Yvette Kerslake, Technical Advisor – Science to Services, PCCC, briefed students on the adaptation actions in Samoa using examples of nature-based solutions such as community mangrove rehabilitation, marine protected areas, organic produce and natural spring pools for community consumption.

The second part was a panel discussion with the two Samoan youth focusing on their climate actions and aspirations as well as formal education on climate change which motivated their climate actions.

Mariner shared how her journey on climate action begun. 

“In 2020, we were able to form the first ever environmental student association in the history of the National University of Samoa. It is a fully youth-led and youth-created organization that really wants to push other students to fight for Climate Action. Not many students would want to lean about climate change but we wanted to change that mindset,” she said.

Asked about key action to initiate projects, Moeono shared his experiences.

“Sometimes the road to completing a project is never ever as planned. My key advice is to have a mentor or someone there to support you along the way, and help guide you to complete your project,” he said.

“Also don’t be afraid to take risks and come out of your comfort zone, because when you’re starting a project, you’re going to put yourself in situations where you don’t feel comfortable. So it’s really good to have a mentor, who has done projects like this before and help guide you and build you up professionally and personally.”

Saki Maehira from Yokohama Commercial High School said the knowledge gained from the webinar would be extremely useful for them, looking to the future.

 “Thank you for your wonderful lecture and discussion. It was really interesting for us as we always discuss climate change in Japan. I’m sure this webinar will help us to take action in the future.”

This story was produced by Leanne, published at SPREP on 29 November 2021, reposted via PACNEWS.

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