The Government of Samoa is in the process of planning to establish a new Climate Change Ministry to deal specifically with the challenges of adapting to global warming.
Discussions for the new Ministry’s creation were confirmed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) Chief Executive Officer, Ulu Bismarck Crawley, one the sidelines of an ongoing Ocean and Climate Change Forum this week.
“The Climate Change Bill [which is currently in draft] will look at institutionalising the climate change portfolio,” he said.
The Assistant CEO for Climate Change Division under MNRE, Galumalemana Anne Rasmussen, said groundwork to prepare the draft bill included: administration; financial management; greenhouse gas inventories; and linkages with other Government agencies and treaties and regulations.
“The whole idea of the Climate Change Bill is to institutionalise the role and the services that the Climate Change Ministry will provide,” Ulu said.
“It all has to do with building good services to accommodate the interests of climate change and its policies, resources, technical activities, adaptations, and mitigations.
“[The draft Bill] provides that mandate and to mainstream climate change across all sectors such as key development sectors like Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture.”
The MNRE CEO also added that sea level rises continue to present one of the main challenges for Samoa.
“In terms of the effects of climate change to our country, one of the examples is the increasing numbers of cyclones and natural disasters affecting Samoa,” Ulu said.
Another strategy under consideration by the MNRE is electric vehicles to minimise the importation of diesel and to meet targets under the Paris agreements.
“These are all in the pipeline but Fiji has already engaged with electric cars but at the same time they realised a lot of problems such as batteries,” Ulu said.
Battery problems gave rise to another issue of waste disposal, Ulu said.