MNRE signs Agreement to Protect Samoa’s Heritage Sites on the Apia Waterfront

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Left: Independence monument at Mulinuu Right: German Administration monument
Left: Independence monument at Mulinuu Right: German Administration monument

On 20 February 2019, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) signed an Implementation Partnership Agreement with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to implement the Samoa Component of the Capacity Building for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) of the Island of Mozambique through Knowledge Sharing with the Asia-Pacific Heritage Cities Project.

Total funding received is USD$10,000 to assist MNRE develop a DRR strategy of selected monuments, sites and buildings of heritage significance in view of Samoa’s Waterfront Develooments now underway.

The objective of the ‘Capacity Building for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) of the Island of Mozambique through Knowledge Sharing with the Asia-Pacific Heritage Cities Project’, funded by UNESCO is to enhance the capacity of member states in Africa, South East Asia and the Pacific for developing DRR strategy of cultural heritage.

Samoa’s Pacific neighbor Fiji was selected as one of the beneficiaries for Phase 1 of the project to develop a DRR plan of Levuka Historical Port Town, World Heritage site in Fiji. Samoa is now a beneficiary of Phase 2 following a successful bid by MNRE with the assistance of UNESCO Office in Samoa.

MNRE CEO Ulu Bismarck Crawley welcomes the participation of Samoa in Phase 2 and hopes the project will provide a blueprint to look at other cultural heritage sites outside of the waterfront area.

Samoa’s involvement has enhanced the participation of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in this project.

The proposed activities for the Samoa Component will consist of 4 areas:  (i) awareness activities; (ii) a study visit to Levuka, Fiji; (iii) technical assessment of selected monuments, sites, and buildings of heritage significance; (iv) developing a draft DRR strategy of cultural heritage in the waterfront area.

Samoa will also be invited to a regional knowledge-sharing workshop to be held in Penang, Malaysia this year.

In implementing these activities, MNRE will work closely with members of the Project Working Group (Centre for Samoan Studies at the National University of Samoa (NUS), Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (MESC), Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure (MWTI)), and other relevant project stakeholders in the next three months.

The project is set to be completed by 31st May 2019 and the partnership sees this project contributing to future initiatives in preserving Samoan heritage and culture, through the protection and restoration of its historical monuments and significant cultural sites.

This initiative addresses Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, with a specific focus on the Apia waterfront area, where about twenty monuments and sites with heritage/cultural value have been identified.

Members of the Project Working Group pictured with the Waterfront Plan - the framework for developing the DRR Strategy for selected heritage sites along the waterfront.
Members of the Project Working Group pictured with the Waterfront Plan – the framework for developing the DRR Strategy for selected heritage sites along the waterfront.