Building the capacity of local communities

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Members of the community at the consultations.

Members of the community at the consultations.

Four hundred representatives from villages and community organisations in Samoa, participated in the ‘Call for Proposals’ Workshops’ by the U.N.D.P. Global Environment Facility (G.E.F.) Small Grants Programme (S.G.P.). 

The U.N.D.P. G.E.F.-S.G.P Sub Regional team, together with the National Steering Committee (N.S.C.) and Technical Advisory Group (T.A.G.), facilitated the Upolu workshop on Tuesday 09th April 2018, and the Savaii workshop on Thursday 12th April 2018. 

The main goal of these workshops was to familiarise, inform, and build the local communities capacity on how they can obtain and utilize the G.E.F.-S.G.P. financial assistance to address their environmental challenges. 

In her keynote address, Minister of Environment Fiame Naomi Mataafa stated that “based on the strong partnership between the Government of Samoa and the UNDP Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme, I believe we can do so much better in terms of sharing best practices, ideas, and knowledge on how to achieve the very essence of sustainable development by “thinking globally” and “acting locally. 

“I hope that today’s capacity building workshop will help the participants gain a better understanding of the environmental concerns and challenges facing our country. More importantly, to keep you informed of the G.E.F.-S.G.P. focal areas of funding support and better equipped you in completing your concept note applications.” 

The tremendous turn out of participants was significant for the achievement of the G.E.F-SGP’s goal of enhancing awareness in Samoa in terms of its community assistance in the protection of the environment for sustainable livelihoods. 

Moreover, it indicates an improvement in the understanding of communities about the application process for obtaining G.E.F-S.G.P. support. With these workshop outcomes, the programme anticipates an increase in the number of applications not only from villages and community organisations with existing G.E.F.-S.G.P. projects but also from others who have yet to access the programme.

In her opening remarks, UN Resident Coordinator and U.N.D.P. Resident Representative, Simona Marinescu highlighted that S.G.P. promotes community actions and initiatives that aid benefit vulnerable communities and support efforts on sustainable development. Projects can be implemented within a twelve (12) month up to thirty-six (36) month duration. 

Funds will primarily build local capacity; raise public awareness, networking and policy dialogue; applied research and policy analysis; and demonstrate and introduce appropriate technologies and approaches in one or several of the following GEF focal areas: (1) Biodiversity Conservation. (2) Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation (3) Protection of International Waters (4) Sustainable Forestry Management & Land Degradation (5) Reduction of Impact of Chemicals and Wastes (6) Capacity Development

The first round of applications (concept note) will be due on Monday 30th April 2018 for the NSC and TAG to review and shortlist applicants. The shortlisted applications will move on to the second round for the preparation of full proposals to acquire financial and technical assistance from the GEF-SGP. As it promotes ‘community action,’ the GEF-SGP has committed US$534,000 USD for this year to support environmental projects in Samoa. Some examples of these projects include marine reserves [coral/fish preservation], mangrove conservation [replanting], waste management [rubbish stands, capacity building], and others.

The GEF-SGP projects enforce community engagement in the restoration and conservation of the environment for people’s well-being and livelihoods. The programme provides up to 50,000 USD directly to local communities, community-based organisations, and other Non-Government Organizations. The GEF-SGP targets those who are most vulnerable due to their strong dependency on natural resources and the fragile ecosystems in which they live. 

The GEF-SGP acknowledges its National Steering Committee (NSC) and Technical Avisory Committee (TAG) comprising of the Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry of Finance, Samoa Umbrella of NGOs, Small Business Enterprise Centre, Samoa Chamber of Commerce, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, and Conservation International for their hard work in supporting the the programme over the 15 years since its establishment in Samoa. The GEF-SGP also expresses its sincerest gratitude to all the participants who took the time out of their busy schedules to attend the ‘Call for Proposals’ Workshops. 

 

About the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme in Samoa 

Samoa joined the GEF-SGP in 2003 and became operational in 2004. SGP Samoa is a sub-regional programme that covers the countries of Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau. In Samoa, the approval of all projects is the responsibility of the National Steering Committee composed of representatives of civil society and community-based organisations, representatives from government, the private sector and international agencies.

GEF SGP provides grants for up to USD 50,000 while grantee partners are expected to raise co-financing (cash or in-kind) from other sources on 1:1 basis. Since its creation, SGP has provided more than 18,500 grants in 132 developing countries. Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as a corporate programme, SGP is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on behalf of the GEF partnership and is executed by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

© Samoa Observer 2016

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