Samoa National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA)


National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) provide a process for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to identify priority activities that respond to their immediate needs to adapt to climate change, ultimately leading to the implementation of projects aimed at reducing the economic and social costs of climate change.

Samoa’s National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) identifies urgent and immediate needs with respect to adaptation:
  1. Water resources
  2. Reforestation programs and activities
  3. Education and awareness programs

Project details

Samoa, a small island country in the South West Pacific, was the first in the region to become independent in 1962.  The country is a group of two main islands, Savai’i and Upolu, as well as several smaller islands lying in the Polynesia region of the southern Pacific Ocean. The country consists of four main inhabited islands and six uninhabited islands. Approximately 193,000 people live in Samoa, with an economy base on subsistence and exports that include agriculture, fishery and forestry products. Tourism is another growing industry. Additionally several food processing and automobile parts plants are located on the two main islands.

Approximately 70% of Samoa’s population and infrastructure are located in low-lying coastal areas. Projected sea level rise could exacerbate coastal erosion, loss of land and property and dislocation of the island inhabitants. The extreme events of tropical cyclones Ofa (1990) and Val (1991) caused damage with costs estimates of approximately four times the gross domestic product (GDP) of Samoa.
Samoa’s main concerns related to climate change are the potential implications of a change in the frequency and/or intensity of extreme weather events, coastal erosion and  sea level rise.  The islands are presently exposed to severe tropical cyclones that typically occur between December and February (NCCCT, 1999); Cyclone Ofa (1990) and Cyclone Val (1991), for example, caused massive damage to Samoa’s infrastructure, natural vegetation, crops and plantations (NMFA et al., 2010), resulting in economic costs equivalent to about three times the country’s Gross National Product (NCCCT, 1999). These vulnerabilities in part reflect the fact that about 70 per cent the country’s infrastructure and human settlements are located close to its coastline. Long dry periods associated with the El Nino Southern Oscillation are also a concern (NCCCT, 1999). 
In its Initial National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Samoa examined five primary areas of vulnerability to climate change: agriculture,  human health, biodiversity,  coastal environments  and  water. The agricultural sector, it was noted, might have to adapt to greater variability in weather and soil conditions, as well as a possible increase in pests and disease. Human health was identified as a concern because of the possible (but not understood) impact of climate change on several common fatal vector and water borne diseases such as dengue fever, gastroenteritis and diarrhea.
Biodiversity was an additional concern as islanders have long depended on natural resources to support their livelihood activities. As biodiversity is likely to be affected by extreme weather events and human activities, Samoa expressed a desire for more research to be undertaken on how it can prepare to adapt to extreme weather events and a possible increase in pests/disease.  Coastal environments, in addition to be  potentially being exposed to changes in the pattern of extreme weather events, could also experience greater erosion, the retreat of beaches and marshlands, and flooding of low-lying areas due to sea level rise. Currently, there is an abundance of water resources for Samoans, but the sector is vulnerable to deforestation, droughts and turbidity of surface waters. As temperatures rise, adaptation needs in the water sector were expected to become more important (NCCCT, 1999). 
Samoa’s National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) identifies urgent and immediate needs with respect to adaptation:
1) Water resources
2) Reforestation programs and activities
3) Education and awareness programs
The main priority criteria for implementation of programs in these areas was identified as being ensuring that they are country-driven, local and community-based.
Climate Related Hazards
  • Flooding (flash)
  • Coastal zone inundation
  • Drought and low flows
  • Storm surge
  • Cyclones
  • Deforestation
  • Forest fires
  • Human resettlement
  • Sand mining

Main Human Vulnerabilities and Livelihood Impacts

  • Reduced agricultural production
  • Water shortage and/or groundwater depletion
  • Increased disease and/or other health problems
  • Loss of biodiversity
  • Loss of land or degradation
  • Damage to community assets


Signature programmes: 
Climate-related hazards addressed: 
Level of intervention: 
Primary beneficiaries: 
Through improved capacity building and project identification, government agencies and other actors will increase their abilities to insulate at risk urban and rural populations from the adverse effects of climate change.
Implementing agencies and partnering organizations: 
Ministry of Health, Government of Samoa
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), Government of Samoa
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Government of Samoa
Project status: 
Financing amount: 
Co-financing total: 

Key results and outputs

Priority Adaptation Projects

  • Securing community water resources
  • Reforestation, rehabilitation & community forest fire prevention
  • Climate health cooperation program
  • Climate early warning system
  • Agriculture & food security sustainability
  • Zoning & strategic management planning
  • Implement coastal infrastructure management plans for highly vulnerable district
  • Establish conservation programs in highly vulnerable marine & terrestrial areas of communities
  • Sustainable tourism adaptation
Project Components:
  • Activity 1.1: Achieving High Level Stakeholder Support for the NAPA Process
  • Activity 1.2: Awareness Raising and Consultation Amongst Stakeholders
  • Activity 1.3: Establish Institutional and Management Arrangements
  • Activity 1.4: Establishment and Participation of Multidisciplinary Working Groups
  • Activity 1.5: Capacity Building
  • Activity 1.6: LDC Cooperation and Coordination
  • Activity 1.7: Monitoring, Review, Evaluation, and Reporting
  • Activity 2.1: Review and Strengthening of Vulnerability and Adaptation Methodologies
  • Activity 2.2: Development of Methods and Criteria to Identify and Prioritize Urgent and Immediate Adaptation Activities
Expected Outputs:
  • Project Steering Committee
  • Informal broad network across government agencies at Department Head level
  • At least two ministerial level briefings
  • NAPA endorsed by Government
  • Awareness raising materials in Samoan and English languages
  • Media campaign
  • Documentation on key stakeholders and relevant initiatives that complement the NAPA process
  • Briefings for, and consultation with, key stakeholders
  • Guidance and feedback from key stakeholders
  • Information shared with related initiatives and ongoing linkages established


Reports and publications

Plans and policies of relevance to NAPs for Least Developed Countries (LDCs)


Gabor Vereczi
Regional Technical Advisor