06 March 2022 - Public servants in various Government ministries in Samoa have been equipped with new knowledge on sustainable development and planning, and a renewed appreciation of their roles in making this a priority in the development of the nation’s tourism industry.
It follows the “Sustainable Development and Planning” training which brought together representatives from the Samoa Tourism Authority (STA), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) and the Ministry of Works Transport and Infrastructure (MWTI) last week. Organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Environment Programme (SPREP) and South Pacific Tourism Organization (SPTO), the three-day training was held at the Pacific Climate Change Centre (PCCC) at SPREP’s Vailima compound.
A key goal of the training was to improve knowledge and awareness of participants on the importance of sustainable development, the use of sustainable planning tools and understanding their functions in line with Samoa’s PUMA Act 2004. SPREP’s Acting Director, Environmental Monitoring and Governance / Environmental Planning Adviser, Jope Davetanivalu, said the training was a success in many ways.
“I want to acknowledge and congratulate all the participants for their willingness to work with us on this very important topic. From SPREP’s perspective, we are all about helping our member countries, and in this time of COVID-19 restrictions, I am delighted that we were able to host this training on campus for Samoa,” Mr Davetanivalu said. “The team at SPREP looks forward to working with the government of Samoa, through all the participants, to put into action what was discussed and learned during the workshop, which we hope will be beneficial to the country and the environment. The monitoring of the environmental and social impacts of tourism is extremely important.”
SPREP produced a joint Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) guidelines with the SPTO for the tourism sector in 2018 and throughout the pandemic, the organisation hosted a series of EIA webinars including two webinars focused on Tourism recovery post COVID-19. SPREP’s Environmental Assessment and Planning Officer, Dr Gregory Barbara, said the timing of the training was critical given the COVID-19 situation.
“The past few years have been very difficult for the tourism industry, not just in Samoa but everywhere else,” Dr. Barbara said. “As part of efforts to support the tourism sector and assist the operators set themselves up for success in the COVID recovery, SPREP, STA, SPTO and others have been developing toolkits and other capacity building to support sustainable tourism.”