Samoa is a small island country located in the south-west Pacific, comprising of four main inhabited islands and six smaller, uninhabited islands of volcanic origin mainly from the Samoa-Uvea hotspot, and the movement of continental plates over a thin, hot spot in the crust. Samoa’s main islands are characterised by a rugged and mountainous topography. On the smaller of the two main islands in Samoa, Upolu, the central mountain range runs along the length of the island with some peaks rising more than 1,000 metres above sea level with the highest peak being Mt Fito at a height of 1,100 metres. Savai’i, the larger island, contains a central core of volcanic peaks reaching the highest point, Mt Silisili, at 1,858 metres. Samoa has a total land area of roughly 2,900 km2. The capital, Apia, is in the northern part of Upolu.
Samoa’s climate is characterized by high rainfall and humidity, near-uniform temperatures throughout the year, winds dominated by the south easterly trade winds and the occurrence of tropical cyclones during the southern-hemisphere summer. Temperatures are generally uniform throughout the year, with a slight seasonal variation.
Samoa’s National Policy on Combating Climate Change provides a framework to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. The policy’s overarching goal is to: “enhance Samoa’s response to the impacts of climate change in support of national sustainable development efforts”. The process for achieving this is detailed through a number of strategies outlined under the following key objectives:
- Promote public awareness and improve stakeholder understanding of the causes and effects of climate change
- Strengthen the management of climate change information
- Build capacity on effective national response to climate change
- Implement mitigation measures to reduce greenhouse gases emissions causing climate change
- Implement adaptation measures to protect Samoa from the impacts of climate change
- Establish a regulatory framework to facilitate the national response to climate change.