02 July 2019, Apia — One of the top officials for the United Nations Development Programme in the region is visiting Samoa this week.
Ms. Valerie Cliff is the Deputy Regional Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific based in Bangkok, which the Samoa multi-country comes under. Ms. Cliff’s visit is significant as it reinforces UNDP’s commitment to Samoa and the other islands that are served through the Samoa office, namely the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau.
“This is my first ever visit to Samoa and I am highly impressed with the country and its people, natural beauty and the landscape. I am also equally impressed to see the power of resilience of the Samoan people in dealing with climate related vulnerabilities,” said Ms Cliff.
As part of her visit, she met with Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi today. She will also meet with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Natural Resources and Environment, Fiame Naomi Mataafa tomorrow to reaffirm UNDP’s commitment to support the Government of Samoa in the areas of climate change and environment through funding from the Global Environment Fund, Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund that comes through UNDP.
Ms. Cliff will also meet with the Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti, to reiterate UNDP’s commitment to support the Government of Samoa in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, share perspectives on future United Nations and UNDP’s presence in Samoa, and discuss the implementation of the GCF-funded, UNDP-supported Vaisigano Catchment Project.
“There is an urgent need to act now to build resilience. But our actions need to be grounded in strategic assessments and the best science, so that we can work effectively to combat the worst impacts of climate change,” said Ms Cliff.
She also received firsthand impressions on the impacts of climate change and adaptation in Samoa’s natural and built environment when she visited various project sites.
These include the Lelata Floodplain – the river protection wall and the Lelata Bridge; Magiagi Primary School – one of the sites for the GEF 5 Strengthening Multi-Sectoral Management of Critical Landscapes project; the Vaiala Seawall through the Adaptation Fund, and the Leone Bridge and Vaisigano River Wall through the EWACC and VCP projects.
Ms. Cliff also met with the UN Resident Coordinator, Dr Simona Marinescu and the UN country team, diplomatic communities in Samoa and staff of the UNDP MCO Samoa.
Ms. Cliff will round off her visit to Samoa with the launching of the SDG banners at the One UN House, Tuanaimato on Wednesday afternoon at the juncture of Pacific games starting next week.