New Zealand to help Samoa with SIDS meeting readiness
New Zealand to help Samoa with logistical preparations for huge small island developing states conferences.
Later this year Samoa is to host one of the biggest events ever staged in the Pacific with the Small Island Developing States conference.
The September event will bring together representatives from all small island states around the world to focus on issues such as their vulnerability to natural disasters.
The New Zealand government is offering logistical assistance and Don Wiseman asked the High Commissioner to Samoa, Jackie Frizelle, just how big the event will be.
JACKIE FRIZELLE: Probably close to 3000.
DON WISEMAN: How will they be accommodated?
JF: Ah well that is quite a challenge because there is a limited amount of accommodation on the island [Upolu], but we are working with Samoa on that. We have got some accommodation booking providers, working with them. Our priority is using local accommodation wherever possible but we are looking at backup options.
DW: So the back up options are, what?
JF: Ah well, it is likely to be a cruise ship. Part of the value of bringing in -
DW: You will need more than one won't you?
JF: I hope not. I think 3,000 - we should be able to accommodate enough people when you look at how many beds there are onshore plus the cruise ship. The last thing we want to do is undermine local tourist providers. So we don't want to over-provide.
DW: New Zealand is involved in other things as well in terms of the set up of the event.
JF: This is as you say a huge undertaking and a very important meeting so we are doing everything we can to try and support Samoa. The other areas where we are providing some support is around security, policing. We are looking at dog control. I know it sounds unusual but there is a problem with stray dogs that also affects the tourist industry so it is something we are working with them together on. The other thing we are doing is putting renewable energy into the site. It is consistent with the theme of the conference, which is sustainable development, so we are ensuring there is solar energy provided to the main site for the conference.
DW: That will be a temporary thing?
JF: No, no permanent. It will be feeding into the main grid.
DW: When we talk about security, New Zealand police will be going over?
JF: Yes we are looking at identifying preferably Samoan speaking New Zealand police who can supplement Samoa's police force.
DW: Now this event, I know New Zealand when it comes to the event will just be an interested observer, but what do you expect to come out of it?
JF: Well small island developing states face a unique set of development challenges because they are very small, often very isolated, vulnerable to natural disasters and climate change. It's a chance to get a huge number of people together with an interest in helping to find solutions to some of these challenges. So we are talking about governments, private sector, NGOs. What I really like about the approach that Samoa is taking to this is they are focussing very much on what they call durable and genuine partnerships. So they are hoping that what will come out of it is quite pragmatic partnerships and solutions that will take forward some of these challenges. One thing they are doing is setting up opportunities to showcase ideas, so it will be a bit of a knowledge shop.
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