Australia is supporting Pacific governments, businesses and communities to strengthen climate change and disaster resilience. At the 2019 Pacific Islands Forum, Australia pledged to spend $500 million over five years to strengthen resilience in the Pacific from 2020. This builds on the commitment to spend $300 million over four years from 2016.
Australia is committed to working in partnership with the people of Samoa to increase climate change action and disaster resilience across the country. We are integrating climate change and disaster resilience across the aid program in Samoa, including in our economic infrastructure, civil society and financial reform programs.
- Due to climate change, Samoa and the region will experience more storms like 2012’s Cyclone Evan, which damaged 2,000 homes, displaced 7,500 people and resulted in over US$200 million in economic losses. Australia is helping improve the resilience of Samoa’s communications infrastructure to ensure it continues to operate in times of disaster.
- Very hot days and increased humidity are increasing the risk of dengue-carrying mosquitoes. In late 2017, 3,200 people were infected with dengue, close to 2 percent of the population. Australia is helping build Samoa's capacity to control vector-borne diseases like dengue.
- Samoa is already experiencing more days with extremely heavy rainfall. Intense rainfall in early 2018 caused serious flooding in Apia. Australia is helping to improve the country’s roads and bridges to ensure they are more resilient to the impacts of climate change and disasters.
- As climate change impacts escalate, communities in Samoa will require significant support to adapt. Australia is supporting local civil society organisations to develop local-level adaptation projects to help build community resilience.
The majority of Samoans and the country’s critical infrastructure are located on the coast. This makes the country highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including tropical cyclones and storm surge, flooding, stronger and longer-lasting droughts and heat waves, coastal erosion, increased acidity of ocean waters, sea level rise, wind-driven waves and king tides.
Australia has provided approximately $2 million in bilateral climate change and disaster resilience support to Samoa since 2016. This support is built into many programs, including the ones below.
- The Australian Government supports the Samoa Economic Infrastructure Program ($20 million, 2012-2019) to build roads and bridges that are more resilient to extreme weather. This ensures Samoans can get to markets, visit family and move about safely during times of disaster.
- The Radio Transmission Infrastructure Redevelopment Project ($4.5 million, 2017-2019) improves the climate and disaster resilience of critical communications infrastructure in Samoa.
- The Samoa Fiscal Resilience Program ($3 million, 2018-2019) helps the Government of Samoa to develop climate-resilient building codes and road construction standards.
- The Civil Society Support Program ($4 million, 2016-2020) aims to increase the resilience of communities through local-level projects in priority areas, like supporting the development of community climate change and disaster committees across Vaimauga district to help increase disaster preparedness.
- The Australian Government is assisting Samoa with the surveillance of vector-borne diseases made worse by climate change. Since 2018 Australia has supported a long-term Epidemiologist Technical Advisor within the Ministry of Health.
Regional and global programs
Australia’s regional programs are changing the way people manage the impacts of climate change and disasters. Under the Australia Pacific Climate Partnership, Australia’s aid program is supporting Pacific island governments to build resilience and shift to low-carbon development by investing in climate-and-disaster-informed education, health, infrastructure, energy, and food and water security.
The Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific Phase 2 ($23.3 million, 2018-2022) works in Samoa with the National Meteorological Service to provide seasonal forecasts that help farmers plan for harvesting, and weather warnings to alert people about disasters.
The Pacific Resilience and Governance Program ($10 million, 2019-2022) supports governments across the region to include climate change and disaster risk factors in their planning, budgeting and implementation to ensure they are building resilience into government initiatives across a range of sectors.