Samoa

Active Grants: 0

GDP (current US$): 856.63 million (2017)

Population: 196,440 (2017)

Major Partners

African, Caribbean and Pacific Group, European Union, SPC/SOAPC, United Nations Development Programme, World Bank

INFORM Risk Rating: 2.9

Risk data from INFORM, a global open-source risk assessment for humanitarian crises and disasters, uses a scale from 0-10, with 10 as the highest level of risk.

Primary Hazards

For additional information on the natural hazard risk profile, visit ThinkHazard.

Context

Natural Hazard Risk

Samoa, a remote Pacific Island state, is exposed to many natural hazards, including droughts, earthquakes, floods, tropical storms, and volcanic eruptions, and. The primary hazards facing the islands are tropical storms and cyclones associated with destructive winds, rainfall, flooding, swells, storm surges, and potentially tornadoes.  These events can cause significant damage to communities, infrastructure, and the economy. In December 2012, Tropical Cyclone Evan struck the country’s two primary islands, and caused about $204 million in damages and losses, equivalent to nearly 30 percent of the total value of goods and services Samoa produced in 2011, with transport and agriculture the most affected sectors.

The country is also vulnerable to earthquakes. In September 2009, a powerful 8.0 magnitude earthquake occurred off the coast of the main Samoan island chain and was followed shortly by two tsunami waves, with swells up to 11 meters that also impacted American Samoa and Tonga. These events caused economic impact to Samoa of about $124 million.

A small island state, Samoa is also vulnerable to the growing geographical, geological, and socioeconomic impacts of climate change. The country is already experiencing increased frequency and intensity in extreme weather and climate events.  

Government Priorities

Samoa has taken steps to strengthen disaster risk management (DRM). In 2007, the government passed an act supporting the management of disasters and emergencies in the country through enhanced planning, risk reduction, response, and recovery, as well as better coordination among relevant agencies. Additional policy measures have been taken, such as the Samoa National Action Plan for DRM 2011–2016. Institutionally, both DRM and climate change adaptation are integrated into the Ministry of Natural Resources, helping to streamline these efforts.

The government also has made strides in strengthening its financial resilience to natural hazard shocks, and participates in the GFDRR-supported Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI) pilot program.  

To advance its DRM agenda, Samoa is prioritizing: 

  • Country- and regional-level initiatives to strengthen resilience to climate change; and,
  • Increasing the resilience of infrastructure to natural hazards and climate change.
GFDRR progress to date

After the 2009 earthquake and tsunami, GFDRR helped the government conduct a post-disaster needs assessment (PDNA), in coordination with the World Bank, the United Nations, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and other partners. The assessment helped leverage $20 million from the World Bank to support rebuilding the tourism industry, with similar funding from ADB.

 Following the devastation of Tropical Cyclone Evan in late 2012, GFDRR supported the government to conduct a PDNA. This assessment helped the government mobilize funding for recovery and reconstruction, including $40 million from the World Bank for projects that will provide recovery assistance to affected commercial fishers and farmers and strengthen the resilience of Samoa’s road infrastructure, among others. An additional $50 million was leveraged by ADB, European Union, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and others, to support recovery projects in the energy, water, tourism, and education sectors, among others.

GFDRR is also supporting Samoa’s participation in a regional program, with activities advancing climate and disaster resilience in infrastructure investments, including Samoa’s roads and schools. Support will also be offered for modernizing early warning and preparedness and for improving the post-disaster response capacity of participating Pacific Island countries. Additionally, Samoa has participated in a pooled catastrophe risk insurance pilot program under PCRAFI since 2013.

Looking ahead, GFDRR anticipates continued demand from the Government of Samoa on:

  • Integrating risk considerations into existing and planned education sector investments; 
  • Modernizing early warning and preparedness systems;
  • Mainstreaming disaster and climate resilience in spatial planning and sector investments; 
  • Exploring additional financial protection strategies; and,
  • Strengthening climate resilience.

World Bank Engagements 2012 – Present

Project Description
Enhancing the Climate Resilience of the West Coast Road
$17.02 million | Start date: 12/2012 (Ongoing)

The project development objectives of the project are to: (i) improve the climate resilience of the West Coast Road; and (ii) enhance local capacity to develop a more climate resilient road network.

Samoa Development Policy Operation
$15 million | Start date: 07/2013 (Closed)

The objective of the operation is to support Samoa in recovering from the immediate impacts of cyclone Evan and to help Samoa build resilience against such shocks in the future. Building resilience against such shocks requires improved disaster preparedness and management policies, a healthy macroeconomic situation, and strengthened public financial management to support government budgetary response during shocks.

Enhanced Road Access Project
$20 million | Start date: 10/2013 (Ongoing)

The project development objectives are to restore key road sector assets damaged by extreme weather events and enhance the climate resilience of critical roads and bridges in Samoa.

Samoa Agriculture & Fisheries Cyclone Response Project
$5 million | Start date: 10/2013 (Closed)

The development objective of the project is to provide recovery assistance to cyclone-affected farmers and fishers through vouchersand grants with the aim of restoring their lost production capacity, and to enhance preparedness of the agriculture sector to better respond to future disasters.

Enhancing the Climate Resilience of Coastal Resources and Communities
$14.6 million | Start date: 12/2013 (Ongoing)

The project development objective is to support coastal communities to become more resilient to climate variability and change.

Samoa Aviation Investment Project
$25 million | Start date: 03/2014 (Ongoing)

The project development objective is to improve operational safety and oversight of international air transport and associated infrastructure.

Pacific Resilience Program
$13.79 million | Start date: 06/2015 (Ongoing)

The objective of the program is to strengthen early warning, resilient investments and financial protection of participating countries.

Samoa Aviation Investment Project Additional Financing
$16.62 million | Start date: 06/2016 (Ongoing)

he development objective of Aviation Investment Project is to improve operational safety and oversight of international air transport and associated infrastructure.

Second Fiscal and Economic Reform Operation
$5 million | Start date: 09/2016 (Closed)

The Project Development Objectives are to improve fiscal management in the areas of debt, procurement and revenue; to strengthen the payments system, tourism sector policy and private sector development opportunities as foundations for more robust economic growth over the medium term; and to strengthen the monitoring, reporting, and coordination of climate resilience activities in Samoa, as an important step toward increasing its resilience to the effects of climate change.

First Resilience Development Policy Operation
$5 million | Start date: 10/2017 (Ongoing)

The proposed operation is the first in a programmatic series of two development policy operations (DPOs), aimed at boosting the resilience of Samoa to some of the major risks threatening its sustainable growth and development. The proposed operation will strengthen Samoa’s macroeconomic and financial resilience, including through increasing revenue collection to help build the fiscal buffers necessary to respond to external shocks.