The Sustainable Development Goals in Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau
The Sustainable Development Goals are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. These are the goals the UN is working on in Samoa:
27 April 2023
Spotlight boost civil society movements to end violence against women and girls.
Happy smiles from grateful hearts. These are some of civil societies in Samoa working and contributing to all national efforts towards ending violence against women. They are also the successful grantees of the Spotlight Initiative UNDP CSO Low Value Grant scheme. The Small Grants support the CSO to build and strengthen existing EVAWG efforts and can be used for diverse innovative activities such as; building Internal/institutional capacity; fostering collaborative partnerships; strengthening advocacy and prevention initiatives using creative cultural arts, sports, strengthening response services, case management, and referrals; sharing of good practices and learning and capacity building The grant scheme gives an extra boost to ongoing activities and new activities that CSO are delivering to empower, advocate and contribute to the promise of ensuring that 'every woman and girl lives a life, free of violence.' The grantees for 2023 include, Samoa National Council of Women: The SNCW will continue with institutional strengthening for women leaders and community conversations with village women to advocate and prevent domestic violence (DV) and intimate partner violence (IPV). Samoa Victim Support: SVSG will ensure that there is a framework for a well established Crisis Care Centre that is resourced and capacitated to respond to survivors of IPV and DV cases. They will also ensure that IPV/DV response services for women, children and vulnerable groups in the context of post COVID 19 recovery are effective and efficient. SUNGO: The Samoa Umbrella for NGO will continue with capacity building for Civil Society on EVAWG and strengthening CSO EVAWG Taskforce joint advocacy efforts Nuanua O le Alofa for Disabilities: The grant supports the Nuanua o le Alofa to coordinate and conduct a Women with Disabilities Leadership Forum on Sexual Reproductive Health and rights and linking to gender-based violence. ADRA Samoa: The ADRA Samoa will continue to convene and lead multi-stakeholder community-based awareness campaigns to raise awareness on IPV/DV issues and legal and social support services. Light of Hope – Toe Fuataina Incorporated: The grant will help Light of Hope with their Project Gateway, a counseling and rehabilitation program for young male and female offenders of DV. Tofa Sinasina Incorporated: The grant will help Tofa Sinasina with their counseling programs and awareness raising for male and female police and correction officers in Upolu and Savaii to better address EVAWG. Samoa Cultural Center : To take their minds away from the pain this programme uses the traditional siva samoa to prevent and advocate against violence towards women and girls Ailao Club Samoa : This grant supports an International Women’s competition for Siva Afi and awareness raising in selected communities to advocate for the prevention of VAWG and women’s empowerment through Siva Afi. The grantees are on board to start their programme which must be completed by December of this year. The Spotlight Initiative Samoa programme congratulates and wishes them all the best.
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18 May 2023
They need to hear, and change for peaceful families and societies.
“The advocacy should not stop, even if they don’t want to listen, we need to continue talking about this issue.” The determination in Lualua Namulauulu Tautu’s voice on TV5, during one episode of the Spotlight Initiative National Reference Group Mother’s Day, ‘Let there be light to free our women from violence’, media talk show. Advocating to amplify the Spotlight Initiative’s key messages on ending violence against women and girls is one priority of the work of the NRG. The week leading up to the Mother’s Day weekend, the NRG of ten members committed their time away from their daily organization and community functions to speak on local television and radio stations. Lualua, as the representative of the Traditional leaders and rural villages seat in the NRG, resides on the big island of Savaii and had to travel over to Apia to bring the voice and perspective of the traditional leaders into this advocacy. ‘The matai’s (traditional leaders) are looking into time and opportunities to bring the young men together and create activities where they are educated on spiritual and cultural values that instill peaceful behaviors so that they do not become violent fathers and husbands,’ according to Lualua. “It is an approach and what we need to do, to prevent violence before it begins.” Even the church leaders in every village continue with their role to preach and teach spiritual values of humility and love and living prayerful and peaceful lives, Lualua also emphasized. “However, it falls on the person, if they do not open their ears and hearts to hear and learn these messages, that is the problem.” “But we should not stop advocating, the more we make noise about this issue, the time will come when they eventually open their ears,” Lualua said. With the support of the RCO and the UNDP the NRG members NRG Mother’s Day, ‘Let there be light to free our women from violence’ Media Campaign was live on EFKS TV, Talofa FM radio station, Eye Spy radio and TV 5.
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30 May 2023
Success of the UN Reforms is evident.
Four years on, the reforms have succeeded. The verdict is in: Resident Coordinators are bringing United Nations entities together in support of countries’ priorities for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres as he presented his 2023 Report on the Implementation of the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QPCR) – his promise to Member States on the UN’s work on sustainable development. Evidence from the report shows that despite a complex global context, the returns on investments in UN development coordination are compelling, tangible, and more aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and national needs and priorities, according to host governments. Presenting her annual Report on the Development Coordination Office and the Resident Coordinator system as the Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed noted that “Resident Coordinators are fostering more coherent, accountable and effective UN support for countries. They are leveraging their impartiality and new capacities to channel skillsets and expertise housed across the UN system. The Resident Coordinators are now our backbone to translate global commitments into effective action on the ground.” This ability to deliver on the ground depends on sustainable, predictable and adequate funding for the SDGs. Yet, as the UN Chief put it, the Resident Coordinator system is “chronically under-funded” and there is a clear need to find a definite solution to bridge the current funding gap of approx. US$80 million. Assistant Secretary-General for Development Coordination, Oscar Fernández-Taranco, urged Member States to live up to their promises to fund the UN’s work on sustainable development [The Funding Compact] to enable transformative change. “Adjusting the quantity and quality of funding does have a multiplier effect on the implementation of the SDGs”, he noted, and highlighted the importance of core resources for UN agencies, funds and programmes and pooled funding, such as the Joint SDG Fund. In this vein, António Guterres announced that in the coming months he will be launching a transparent and inclusive consultation process with Member States for a new funding model of the Resident Coordinator system that ensures adequate, sustainable and full funding going forward. With an eye on the SDG Summit and other high-level meetings taking place in September 2023 as well as several conferences lined up in 2024, UN representatives, ministers and delegates from member states alike reaffirmed the need to capitalize on the goldmine of UN experience and ramp up efforts to deliver coherent and coordinated action on the ground.
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10 April 2023
Pam, driving the vehicle of change for community women movements.
Fuatino Pam Sua or affectionately known as ‘Pam’ first became involved in the business of the Samoa National Council Women (SNCW), simply by being the driver for its founding President, Masiofo Fetauimalemau Mataafa. In 1972, I was sent home after schooling in New Zealand. While in NZ, I taught myself how to drive. Thankfully, it was my driving skills that the late Masiofo Fetauimalemau, called me to drive her around and do the bidding of the old ladies of the SNCW, taking them to meetings and so forth. I enjoyed the driving because I also got to sit in, listen and understand the governance and operations of the Council. Most important was the relationships with the old ladies and the knowledge and wisdom shared amongst them that I even learnt so much from it. Some years later, Pam was assigned the role of managing the SNCW finances. Fast forward to 2012, just before Samoa’s celebration of its independence, Pam was organizing lunch and making transportation arrangements for the SNCW members from Savaii and Upolu. I was about to leave, but the Hon. Fiame Naomi, the daughter of the late Masiofo Fetauimalemau and the President of the SNCW called me over and said, “before you leave, you’ve just been appointed the new secretary”. That day my responsibilities multiplied. I am in charge of managing the organization and trying to live up to the expectations and vision of the Samoan matriarchs that came before us and paved the way for the women’s movement in Samoa for generations that followed. Pam is at the heart of mobilizing and uniting women from the villages around Samoa under the umbrella of the SNCW and she was involved for over fifty years. The SNCW was set up in 1953 and is an umbrella organization for village women’s committees in Samoa. The SNCW is premised on the value of Samoan women’s traditional statuses and social standing, namely ‘Sa’o Ao (daughters of village men and women), faletua ma tausi (wives of paramount chiefs and orators), and āvā a taulele’a (wives of untitled men). This social group plays an integral role in supporting the village’s local governance with its developments and advocacies filtering across to the other influential players of the village, namely, the village council, untitled men and the youth. In 2015, the SNCW embarked on an institutional strengthening programme to redefine its purpose and review the organization’s constitution and to explore whether its purpose and existence was still relevant. At the time, the SNCW was a member of the CRC and CEDAW Partnership Committees coordinated under the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (MWCSD). One of the key development issues requiring a whole-of country approach, was family violence. The SNCW received funding from the Government of Australia to fund the Samoa Shaping Women’s Development programme through MWCSD to implement a nationwide advocacy campaign on the prevention of violence against women and girls using traditional learning methods through the art of community conversations. Spearheaded with technical assistance from Palanitina Tupuimatagi Toelupe, 41 villages were covered, and we collaborated with the women’s committees, women’s church fellowship, including youth groups to deliver this advocacy with the hope that the women themselves will drive their own destiny and facilitate social change through this movement. This community-centered programme was our steppingstone into reviving our focus on ending violence against women and girls (EVAWG) and linking it to good governance and leadership. Building on from the momentum in 2015, the support from the EU & UN Spotlight Initiative in 2020 has elevated this work with 16 women’s committees from Upolu and Savaii engaging and joining in the movement. The Spotlight’s involvement added weight to the community conversations to strengthen the advocacy of eliminating violence against women and girls. And the Spotlight focus was through leadership programmes to empower the women’s committees to gain confidence as they are the gatekeepers of what is happening within their own communities. Contextualized trainings were offered to women members of the SNCW on EVAWG using the transformational leadership tool to advocate and disseminate the information and learnings to women in their villages to address violence against women and girls including intimate partner violence. Our training content and practical exercises worked on confidence and advocacy building within their own women’s committee settings and when advocating for support from the village council of chiefs. For instance, they were reminded through the programme to remember and understand the order of the Alii ma Faipule – village council of chiefs. There was nothing worse than coming in only just to be chased out. The Spotlight Initiative programme was well received, the lessons learned, and the work of the trained women was effective to create awareness and advocacy for other committees to grow the need and the urge to be part of the SNCW. A testimony from Mrs Vine Sefo Samia, Samatau Council Women, participant in the SNCW leadership trainings – Spotlight gave us the tools to run our own advocacy activities in the village reaching all age groups, especially the young men and women, who have a better understanding than before. We visit families and encourage mothers to not be afraid to speak out and seek help. We encourage open communication and dialogue between the mothers and their daughters on sexual reproductive health and rights of women and girls, and how to prevent sexual and physical violence. We lobbied for leadership and good governance support from our Alii and Faipule and church ministers which led to having in place village policy and laws to address violence against women and girls, we remind the families and fathers about their duty to protect and keep the peace in the village. Conversations are being made, collaborations amongst the traditional structures of the village and women have been made stronger. We do not see nor hear of any new incidents of violence these are the good changes that have come about due to the strong advocacy by the women of the Samatau council. We cannot afford to be complacent, we have to continue the advocacy as we are the Spotlight champions in our village to effect the change in norms, attitudes and behavior to end violence. The leadership training was to advance the work we had already started and become self-reliant to not wait for handouts but to stand up and lead from the home and from the community, to be caregivers and oversee their communities and the issues that pertain to women and girls. This all tied in when in times of crisis especially when the measles epidemic hit Samoa in 2019, the committees mobilized into action in terms of ensuring sanitation and caring support to prevent the spread of measles amongst our most vulnerable groups, our children. The Spotlight Initiative-UNDP partnership with SNCW dovetailed into the community conversation programme and expanded it. The leadership programme under Spotlight allowed the committees of women and girls to flourish and build confidence in themselves to such a degree it enabled them to lobby, speak out and empower the traditional village setting to listen and consider their needs and issues. Women and girls must lead from the front, because they are the ones who understand what is needed and to collaborate with each other, amplify and complement each other’s work. They have the capacity and know how to carry out their work and the leadership programme through the Spotlight Initiative brought about the change in confidence and know-how to be the voice for women, girls, and children. We utilized the Samoan ways and tools we have in place to put a focus on bringing to light the violence against women, girls and children and advocating for a better change. "As you witnessed, our perseverance bore fruit with the President of the SNCW becoming the first woman Prime Minister for this country.” The rest is history. This story has been rewritten from its original form as published in the Spotlight Initiative Magazine 2022 | Stories of Change.
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27 April 2023
UNDP Samoa Accelerator Lab wins global Japan SDG Innovation Challenge
Apia, Samoa – In a first for Samoa, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Accelerator Lab (AccLab) has won one, of only two spots, for the Japan SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) Innovation Challenge. Samoa and Zimbabwe are the only AccLabs selected from a pool of 91 UNDP AccLabs across the world. The Challenge will enable the UNDP Samoa AccLab to implement an innovative project to convert fish skin into sustainable fish leather. This project aims to maximize the economic benefits of the entire fish caught, instead of just the flesh whilst discarding other fish parts, thus lending the project its name: “100% Fish Use”. The fish leather will be manufactured through a sustainable process. The eco-friendly fish leather is an exotic leather and will be an addition to the existing Samoan handicrafts/products such as wallets, business card holders and other items, popular as souvenirs. There is also a huge demand for fish leather overseas and this has the potential to increase additional avenues for export. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) AccLab is partnering with Think Sea Corp, a Japanese company, to implement this project through funding from the Japan Cabinet Office (CAO). This Challenge is facilitated by the Japan Innovation Network. The contract between UNDP Samoa and Think Sea Corps was signed in March 2023 and the project is now ready for implementation. “Over 40 to 60% of the caught fish is currently being dumped or underused. Furthermore, there is very little data on the amount of fish waste generated in Samoa. This project, in addition to assigning economic value to fish waste, will also boost the data on fish waste,” said Jorn Sorensen, Resident Representative, UNDP Samoa. The founders of the Think Sea Corp will spend two months in Samoa to experiment with the fish skin type available locally and create samples of leather. They will also train the target communities on the low-cost process of leather production, enabling communities to take up new entrepreneurial opportunities of producing, utilizing, and selling fish leather. "We are thrilled to embark on this project to contribute to the protection of the marine environment and sustainable development with the team at UNDP Samoa. As awareness of the importance of marine conservation continues to grow, we take great pride in being able to support sustainable economic development while making use of ocean resources. Through this project, we hope to make valuable contributions to the local communities by leveraging our respective expertise and skills to pursue meaningful impact,” said Tomohisa Noguchi, Founder, Think Sea Corp. The 100% Fish Use project is a critical milestone for Samoa not only in terms of expanding the blue economy, but also a successful example of connecting technology and innovation from the private sector to local contexts, accelerating progress on the SDGs. -ENDS- For media queries, please contact: Tomohisa Noguchi, Think Sea Corp, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://www.tototoleather.com/en Laufaleaina Lesa, UNDP Multi Country Office, Samoa|Tel. +685 23670|E: email@example.com www.ws.undp.org @UNDP in Samoa, Cook Islands, Tokelau & Niue @undpsamoa
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24 March 2020
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