Marine Spatial Planning key strategy identified under the Samoa Ocean Strategy

The Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) four-year project (2019 – 2022) is led in Samoa by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) with technical support provided by IUCN in partnership with the Samoa Umbrella of Non-Government Organisation (SUNGO), Conservation International, the Waitt Institute and Waitt Foundation and it’s funded by the European Union’s GCCA+,
The MSP is one of several key strategies identified under the Samoa Ocean Strategy (SOS) 2020 – 2030 to support the Samoan government’s commitment of protecting 30% by sustainably managing its ocean space.
This is according to a statement issued by the MNRE.
“Moving towards in the final year of implementation, the MSP project’s team presented key reports and outputs produced as a result of comprehensive consultations, scientific and expert research.
“The reports include the Special and Unique Marine Areas of Samoa, the Marine Ecosystem Service Valuation Report for Samoa and a Marine Legal Review of Samoa.
Accompanying these reports are simplified infographic materials that summarises key findings for better informing the general public.
“IUCN is pleased to support the development of these key reports under the MSP project. They prove to be useful national resources and biophysical data sets in terms of marine spatial planning and is a great step towards Samoa’s target of protecting 30% of its ocean space”, said Mr Mason Smith, Regional Director of IUCN Oceania.
These reports have been useful during the first round of national community and sectoral consultations, which were held between August 2021 and March 2022.
A summary infographic is also produced highlighting the key findings and analysis of the first round of consultations held across 52 political districts covering 117 coastal villages, and with four key sectors; tourism, fisheries, government and civil society and academia earlier this year.
“The Ministry acknowledges the technical support from everyone involved in developing these important resources to better understand our current situation, this is invaluable to the MSP process and together with the information generated during the nationwide consultations, these will best inform and focus development of the MSP for Samoa.
Again, MNRE acknowledges the financial and technical support provided by our partners the EU, IUCN ORO, SUNGO, Conservation International and the Waitt Institute to work alongside our Division of Environment and Conservation to realise these important MSP products”, said the Assistant Chief Executive Officer, DEC Division, Seumaloisalafai Afele Faiilagi.
To promote and raise awareness on the second round of national community and sectoral consultations, MNRE and partners have also launched specific MSP and ocean education materials that include key messages printed and displayed on MNRE vehicles, a public bus that caters for Savai’i Island along with a radio campaign raising awareness on the value of Fish Reserves and No Take Zones.
The second round consultations are anticipated to begin in the second week of September across the 52 coastal community districts which also includes other key sectors such as education and religious/faith based entities in Samoa.
“The ocean is a key priority in the European Union Strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and the Pacific Islands Forum 2050 Strategy for a Blue Pacific Continent. Marine Spatial Planning in Samoa, supported by the European Union through its Global Climate Change Alliance Plus Initiative, translates this strategic priority at the country and community level, to balance ocean protection, the sustainable management of marine resources and adaptation to climate change.”, said the Ambassador of the European Union to Samoa, H.E. Sujiro Seam.
A participatory and inclusive approach to MSP is the key to successful ocean management in Samoa and the European Union and IUCN are excited to support MNRE through this phase of the project through collaboration and partnerships with Conservational International Samoa, SeaSketch and the Waitt Institute and Waitt Foundation.