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American Samoa and SPREP ink Summary of outcomes for potential areas of collaboration to address the triple planetary crisis

3 May 2024, Apia, Samoa. As the world battles with the realities of the triple planetary crisis, the need for meaningful regional partnerships for a Resilient Pacific cannot be understated. On 3 May 2024, the Government of American Samoa, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) signed a Summary of outcomes for potential areas for collaboration to address climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and strengthen environmental management at the Strategic Partnership Framework and High-Level Meeting to support the resilience and environmental priorities of American Samoa. 

The summary was signed by the Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa, Honourable La’apui Talauega E.V Ale and SPREP Director General Mr Sefanaia Nawadra and is a culmination of a series of discussions held from 1-2 May between SPREP and the Government of American Samoa through the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency, Governor’s Resilience Office, American Samoa Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources and the Office of Disaster Assistance and Petroleum Management.

“Climate change is the largest threat facing humanity, coupled with other environmental threats including pollution and biodiversity loss, these are serious invasions into our wellbeing. These are not just financial propositions, they are also life propositions. We must respond to these threats while at the same time trying to develop our communities and feed our families.”, said Lieutenant Governor La’apui Talauega E.V Ale in his opening remarks. 

He further highlighted the significance of a collaborative response to the mounting threats caused by the triple planetary crisis, “this is not just an American Samoa problem, this is a regional and global problem that we must be addressing. I commend the work of the Secretariat over the past years and the renewed focus on climate change and Pacific resilience”.

Mr Sefanaia Nawadra, Director General of SPREP addressed the Lieutenant Governor and his delegation by reaffirming the Secretariat’s commitment to American Samoa. He said, “The two days of discussions between your officials and our team have been productive and we are in a position to sign the record of discussions today, detailing the set of priorities SPREP will address with the Government of American Samoa. The Secretariat is ready to provide support to American Samoa as a Member of SPREP.”

Through the Summary document, the Secretariat makes a commitment to the Government of American Samoa across the SPREP Strategic Plan 2017 – 2026 Regional Goals, by providing technical assistance where requested, explore opportunities for partnering in regional projects and initiatives, knowledge sharing and brokering, and developing campaigns and tools to support the environmental and climate change resilience priorities of American Samoa. 

Under each of the SPREP Regional Goals, ensuring strengthened climate resilience, healthy and resilient island and ocean ecosystems, improved waste management and pollution control and best environmental practices for Pacific people, American Samoa officials and SPREP staff identified key commitments for future work. These included support to the American Samoa Governor’s Resilience Office and Resilience Commission through institutional strengthening, waste management initiatives, engagement in the Pacific Regional Invasive Species Management Support Service (PRISMSS) and Pacific Invasives Learning Network (PILN) and existing regional frameworks that are appropriate to American Samoa’s government structure and requirements.

The Strategic Partnership Framework and High-level Meeting to support the resilience and environmental priorities of American Samoa was held on 1-3 May 2024, at the Pacific Climate Change Centre, SPREP.