Building forward better by safeguarding natural capital and ecosystem services
Samoa’s economy relies heavily on ecosystem protection, especially in the agricultural sector, which accounts for more than one-tenth of the country’s GDP, as well as in industry, which is based mainly on tourism, coconuts, small-scale manufacturing and fishing. At present, ecosystems of global and national significance, such as coastal and montane rainforests, are being critically degraded. The UN Joint Programme will support the development of policy and planning, collection of data, and valuation of ecosystem services, to support future scenario-planning, reporting on SDGs 11-15, and build a case for investment in ecosystem services given their centrality to human wellbeing, which are critical for the realization of the SDGs 1 to 3. Emphasis on data, statistics and recommendations does not lose sight of the fact that the human beings are integral parts of ecosystems and that a dynamic interaction exists between them and other parts of ecosystems. The realization of key SDG 14 and SDG 15 targets and the agenda of leaving no one behind is dependent on this effort to foster this interdependent relationship.
Approach: This UNJP on Ecosystem Services will include assessments, data and policies that would clarify the influence of complex human-nature interactions on one another and impacts on the functioning of the ecosystems as well as biodiversity. It would advocate for developing sustainable solutions to these issues. The UNJP PUNOs and partners, SROS, MNRE and SBS will be applying cutting-edge integrative approaches that are SDG-driven, databased, and synthesis-oriented. Their transdisciplinary efforts to link natural and social interactions would help the communities see the impacts and trade-offs of unsustainable use of the ecosystems.
UNESCP, UNESCAP, UNEP
National authorities: Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (SROS); Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE); Samoa Bureau of Statistics (SBS). Civil society organizations: Concerned village committee; Concerned women’s committee; Concerned youth committee; Other CSOs as mentioned in Table 2. Private sector: To be identified. IFIs: World Bank/Asian Development bank (to be explored). Other partners: Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).