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The Moataa Mangrove Walkway, built by the Moataa Development Committee - an example of community led action on biodiversity conservation (Photo: Global Environment Facility Small Grants Project)

Evidence-based decision making is an integral component of our SIDS Offer Rising Up for SIDS, and new science is enabling government leaders in SIDS to effectively use resources to build resilience through targeted climate action. Healthy water sources are important to SIDS for a multitude of reasons beyond drinking — with coral reefs providing protection from climate events and safe fisheries providing critical economic input.

Innovation must be catalysed for a better strategy in the safeguarding of these areas. A recent project supported by UNDP in Samoa has empowered researchers — through a partnership between New York University and New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), the National University of Samoa, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment — to analyse samples from mangrove swamp, freshwater, and saltwater environmental resources of Upolu Island, Samoa, to determine their elemental composition and measure the presence of damaging substances, most likely introduced by humans. Technology from NYU allowed for a complete assessment in seconds, supplying a breakdown of components and concentration.

The research identified the presence of harmful elements possibly from herbicides and pesticides as well as increased salinity likely due to climate change — both detrimental to the health of coral reefs. This project can be used to inform government policy for the implementation of mitigation efforts targeted at improved manufacturing processes, pest management, monitoring of salinity, etc. Increased high-quality data of this kind, will be critical in SIDS' climate response.

Importantly, the initiative is funded through the UN-India Development Partnership Fund managed by the UN Office for South-South Cooperation. Strengthened South-South cooperation is necessary to realize the objectives of the SAMOA Pathway, this initiative demonstrates the power of such programs in facilitating knowledge sharing and creation for research-based sustainable development. To increase access to such information, UNDP will soon release a Comprehensive Data Strategy in early 2021. Learn more about UNDP’s eight data principles

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South-South partnership funds crucial biosecurity research in Samoa