[Coral-List] American Samoa as role model for responsibility

Charles Birkeland charlesb at hawaii.edu
Fri Aug 31 10:55:06 EDT 2007

American Samoan as role model for responsibility

While hosting the recent US Coral Reef Task Force meeting in American Samoa, Governor Togiola Tulafono stated that the Government of American Samoa is committed to take its responsibility in addressing the adverse impacts of global warming and resulting climate change, and challenged the federal government, the public sector, and regional jurisdictions to do the same. The measures are not extreme, but I and others appreciated that such commitments are stated explicitly in terms of dates and levlels, rather than in generalities. His Executive Order 010-2007 announced at the USCRTF meeting requires that

•	To combat destruction of coral reefs by increased algal blooms, the importation of high phosphorous detergents is prohibited, effective October 1, 2007. 

•	All new American Samoa Government vehicles must have a minimum fuel efficiency rating of 20 mpg.

•	Vehicles purchased this coming year must be hybrid vehicles at a rate of at least 5%, increasing to 50% by model year 2017.

•	The importation of vehicles more than 10 years old is prohibited.

•	The Government immediately begins replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact florescent bulbs.

and several other matters involving energy efficiency ratings, auto-shut off valves, 4-wheel dive vehicles etc. In line with the Coral Reef Conservation Act of the federal government, Governor Tulafono specifically challenged US EPA and US Army Corps of Engineers to review and assess their mandates and statutes to provide more directed and stronger support to local partners in addressing their mandates to conserve and protect coral reefs.  

He also announced the finalization and adoption of a territorial MPA Network Strategy. The MPA Network Strategy was developed to link American Samoa’s MPA programs and agencies together to be more effective in protecting and managing the marine resources and aims to develop regional partnerships to better protect our coral reef ecosystem. The strategy works through utilizing each program’s mandates, resources and funding through enhanced coordination and integration of education, research and monitoring, enforcement, and program administration. The goal of the MPA Network Strategy is to effectively coordinate existing and future MPAs to ensure the long-term health and sustainable use of the Territory’s coral reef resources.

A number of us felt the meetings were more productive than usual because matters were more specifically and immediately addressed. Perhaps both the whole ecosystem and immediacy of responsibilities are easier to perceive in smaller societies.

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