The Government of Samoa and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) have launched a multi-million dollar project (dubbed “IMPRESS” - “Improving the Performance and Reliability of Renewable Energy Power System in Samoa”) to enhance sustainable and cost-effective energy production in the Small Island Developing State.
In its nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement, Samoa set a target of 100% renewable energy for electricity generation through the year 2025. The new project will contribute to the realization of this commitment.
Funded through the Global Environment Facility with $ 6 million and $46 million co-financing by the Government of Samoa, the implementation of the IMPRESS project will be led by the Renewable Energy Division of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE-RED).
“Today’s important launch event reflects our government’s commitment to addressing climate change, and the drive of our small country – through the collaboration of different government ministries, state-owned enterprises and non-government organizations – to maximize indigenous renewable energy resources,” said Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment CEO, Ulu Bismarck Crawley.
The project will focus on sustainable energy policy formulation and implementation at the national level, access to new renewable energy technologies, support for community initiatives for saving electricity, productive and social uses of renewable energy and raising local communities’ awareness on the applications and benefits of renewable technologies.
Samoa, with the support of the UNDP and Green Climate Fund, has also launched a new climate change adaptation project that will benefit nearly 30 percent of the population. Led by the Ministry of Finance, the $65 million project focuses on building resilience to increasingly intense weather events driven by climate change
While investing in flood-proofing infrastructure in the flood-prone river catchments of the capital Apia – including drainage and sewerage systems, river floodwalls and bridges – the project will establish a health surveillance system to track flood-related health issues, help institute better building practices and expand the coverage of early warning systems. Currently early warning systems, though well advanced, cover only tsunamis and earthquakes, and there is no system in place to warn communities along the Vaisigano River that they are at risk of an extreme flood event.
“This project will help protect schools, hospitals, government buildings, homes and businesses along the Vaisigano river area,” said UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Ms. Lizbeth Cullity. “Importantly, by the time it’s completed, the Government of Samoa will also have better capacity and an enhanced information system to make risk-informed decisions on flood management into the future.”
Approved by the Green Climate Fund in December 2016 and launched in late August by the Minister of Finance, the project officially starts implementation this week. The project design was supported by the Governments of New Zealand and Australia.