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Governor appoints DMWR director as Climate Change Coordinator

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has appointed a cabinet director to hold the post of Climate Change Coordinator, with Climate Change among the issues on the draft agenda for this year’s annual meeting to be held later this month of the Interagency Group for Insular Areas (IGIA) in Washington D.C.


The governor first revealed the Climate Change post in his written State of the Territory Address last month to the the Fono. He said “climate change is a major concern” hence a Climate Charge Coordinator post will be established within the Governor’s Office “to ensure that climate change policies are fashioned and aligned with articulated federal climate change policies.”


Additionally, a Climate Change Committee “will be established to ensure that our climate change strategies are comprehensive and reflective of federal policies,” he said.


While the climate change committee members and details are expected to be announced soon, the governor’s executive assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira told Samoa News this week Wednesday that the governor has appointed Marine and Wildlife Resources Department director Dr. Ruth Matagi Tofiga as Climate Charge Coordinator because climate change issues fall under her administrative purview.


A panel discussion on Climate Change is one of the issues listed on the draft agenda for the Feb. 24 annual IGIA meeting at the Interior Department building in Washington D.C, according to a copy of the draft agenda received last week by Samoa News.


Iulogologo said Matagi-Tofiga will be presenting on behalf of the American Samoa Government at the IGIA meeting, disclosing the current impact of Climate Change on American Samoa along “with our strategies to mitigate factors contributing to the exacerbation of climate change”.


Matagi-Tofiga has briefed the Governor on the power point presentation which will be delivered during the IGIA forum, said Iulogologo, adding that the governor will provide introductory remarks before the presentation.


Further, climate change issues for American Samoa “are being addressed collectively and collaboratively” by the American Samoa Power Authority, local Environmental Protection Agency, American Samoa's Renewable Energy Committee, Commerce Department, Port Administration, DMWR, Samoan Affairs and the Governor’s Office.


The IGIA is co-chaired by the Interior Secretary and the White House director of Intergovernmental Affairs.


Other issues on the agenda for panel discussions are tourism, "compact impact" (referring to insular areas of the U.S. Pacific) and workforce development (which is one of the economic developments cited in American Samoa’s Economic Development Implementation Plan, or EDIP)




Lolo is scheduled to depart tonight for Washington D.C. for several meetings including the IGIA. He will be accompanied by several cabinet directors whose names were not yet confirmed at press time. The Governor’s Chief of Staff, Fiu Johnny Saelua has not yet released information on other meetings for the governor during this trip.


One meeting Lolo will attend is the annual National Governors Association Winter Meeting in the nation’s capital from Feb. 20-23 to discuss priority issues affecting states and share innovative "best practices" to address some of the nation’s most pressing challenges.


In a news release NGA vice chair, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, said the meeting gives governors the chance to talk about jobs, education, energy, health care and other important issues in each state and territory.


More details on the NGA meeting can be found online: