13° 48' 0" S, 171° 46' 58.8" W

Capital Based Focal Point:

Ministry of Economy & Development
Tel. 685 34 333
Fax. 685 21 312

Capital City: 
Samoan, English
Category: Social
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Net enrollment ratio in primary education 92.2 95.59999999999999 99.3 99.3 99.099999999999994 MDG Database
Seats held by women in national parliament, percentage 8.2 8.2 6.1 6.1 6.1 6.1 6.1 6.1 8.2 8.2 8.2 UN Stats (MDGs indicators)
Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above) 98.59999999999999 98.7 World Bank
Category: Land
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Agricultural land (1000 Ha) 63 63 65 65 65 66 66 66 66 FAO
Forest area (sq km) 1,710 1,710 1,710 1,710 1,710 1,710 1,710 1,710 World Bank
Forest area (% of land area) 60.42 60.42 60.42 60.42 60.42 60.42 60.42 60.42 World Bank
Category: Tourism
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
International tourism receipts (% of total exports) 41 39 45 54 70 78 91 Development Data Group, The World Bank. 2008. 2008 World Development Indicators Online. Washington, DC: The World Bank. Available at:
Category: Demographics
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Country population 176,556 177,525 178,187 178,595 178,831 178,966 179,004 178,948 178,869 178,846 World Bank
Population annual growth 0.743029 0.547334 0.372212 0.228711 0.132055 0.0754618 0.0212308 0.0312891 0.0441567 0.0128594 World Bank
Maternal mortality ratio (modeled estimate, per 100,000 live births) World Bank
Category: Indices
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
HDI - Human Development Index UNDP International Human Development Indicators - Calculated based on data from UNDESA (2009d), Barro and Lee (2010), UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2010b), World Bank (2010b) and IMF(2010a).
Category: Economy
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
GNI per capita, PPP (current international $) 2,710 2,970 3,130 3,200 3,520 3,630 3,990 4,190 4,480 4,270 World Bank
ODA received as % of GNI 11.71 18.050000000000001 14.37 10.36 8.18 10.59 10.69 7.06 7.78 UN Stats (MDGs indicators)
Workers remittances (current US$) 45,000,000 45,000,000 45,000,000 45,000,000 87,928,000 109,926,000 108,047,000 119,760,000 135,000,000 UN Data
Category: Energy
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Electric power consumption (kWh) World Bank
Combustible renewables and waste (metric tons of oil equivalent) World Bank
Fossil fuel energy consumption (% of total) World Bank
Category: Climate Change and Sea-level Rise
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Carbon dioxide emissions (CO2), thousand metric tons of CO2 (CDIAC) 139 143 143 150 154 158 158 161 MDG Database (CDIAC Data)
Category: Freshwater
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Improved water source (% of population with access) 89 88 World Bank
Category: Biodiversity
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Proportion of terrestrial and marine areas protected 0.98 0.98 0.98 1.18 1.18 1.18 1.18 1.18 1.18 1.18 UN Stats (MDGs indicators)

Climate change

In 1999, Samoa submitted its First National Communication to the UNFCCC. In 2005, Samoa submitted its National Adaptation Programme of Action.

Samoa is experiencing changes in climate that present risks to both humans and the environment. The greenhouse effect is identified as one of the factors that may be contributing to these changes. Climate change and sea level rise are serious concerns given that 70% of Samoa’s population and infrastructure are located in low-lying coastal areas. Samoa’s economy largely depends upon its natural resources, which rely on favourable climatic conditions for healthy growth. Projected sea level rise could exacerbate coastal erosion, loss of land and property, and displacement of the islands’ inhabitants. The issues or areas regarded as being most vulnerable to climate change effects are the coastal zone, fresh water resources, the agricultural industry and Samoa’s rich native biodiversity. All these are vital components of the biophysical environment from which the Samoans derive their livelihoods and which is currently facing the threat of climate change.

Natural and Environmental Disasters

In 2006, Samoa established its National Disaster Management Plan 2006-2009.

Samoa is exposed to a number of natural and technological hazards. Some of these hazards are seasonal, such as tropical cyclones, floods and droughts. Others are an ever-present threat, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruption, tsunamis, epidemics, industrial hazards, and exotic plant or animal diseases. Changes in tropical cyclone systems increase the risk to life, property and ecosystems. The occurrences of tropical cyclones, long period of droughts and flooding events have affected the source of income of most of the Samoan population. The extreme events of tropical cyclones Ofa (1990) and Val (1991) caused damage costing approximately four times the gross domestic product (GDP) of Samoa. High winds, storm surges and heavy rains severely damaged agricultural plantations, infrastructure and the country’s socio-economic base. 

Waste Management

The Government of Samoa has developed fiscal and policy incentives and other measures to encourage environmentally sustainable imports and local products with low waste or degradable waste content. Samoa has also ratified and implemented relevant Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) or conventions relating to waste and pollution control.

Municipal waste in Samoa has several features that make it unique from municipal waste found in larger industrialised nations. As the economy of Samoa develops and moves towards a cash-based, consumer goods society, the volume and complexity of waste products increases. Much of the modern waste stream generated within the wider urban area of Apia may take years to break down, and some components of these wastes may also be harmful or hazardous to humans and the environment. There is concern about the use and disposal of various chemicals, agricultural pesticides and herbicides, empty containers, and household chemicals.

Coastal and Marine Resources

Samoa has a Marine Resources Use Policy, and is working towards the delineation of its EEZ with the assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat and the SOPAC.

Traditionally Samoans rely on marine resources for their well-being and daily required sustenance. Over 70% of villages are located on the coastal fringe of the islands, and subsistence fishing is a major activity of the inhabitants of such villages. Fisheries also play an extremely important role in the economy of Samoa as well as contributing significantly to the health and nutrition of the people. Fisheries are the major income-earner for the country. Offshore fisheries, in particular the tuna sector, have been recently developed and now are the most valuable among fisheries contributing significantly to Samoa’s economy. However, pressures arising as a result of overfishing, inshore environment degradation, ongoing coastal developments, pollution, and natural disasters have adversely affected the coastal resources and marine environment. 

Freshwater Resources

Samoa’s Water Sector Plan, termed ‘Water for Life’, was approved in 2005 and was developed under a Water Sector Support program. Other key outputs of the same program include a Water Resources Use Policy, a Water Services Policy and a Sanitation Policy, all of which were developed between 2008 and 2010.

Access to healthy water sources is a common problem in all Samoan communities, in both coastal and inland areas. Although Samoa receives high rainfall, water resources usually dry up 3 to 6 months of the year as a result of the high permeability of younger rock formations. During this time only three major rivers run, and these have already been fully developed for water catchment. Cyclone damage and continuing land clearance are the major threats affecting the ability of water catchment areas to hold water as well as the quality of the water from remaining streams. 

Land Resources

Samoa has an active Land Use Policy. In addition, a Land Task Force was set up in 2006 to consider land reforms and to ensure that there is access to development on an equitable basis within a framework of customary ownership.

Land is central to the economic and cultural structure of Samoa and land of productive potential is in ample supply. In areas of heavy population concentration, however, shortages of land under customary land tenure are becoming more evident and increase pressure to develop land of marginal value for village sector production. An increasing number of village communities are experiencing floodwater inundation in new areas of their land. These problems are worsened by other human activities such as deforestation in the areas located uphill and inland. Forest and trees and their role in watershed management, environmental protection, provision of wood and non-timber resources, and as a reserve of biodiversity are highly vulnerable to the drought season, facing increasing risk of forest fires.

Energy Resources

The Samoa Energy Policy was adopted in 2008.

The energy sector is one the fastest growing sectors of the Samoan economy. The commercial energy sector in Samoa has expanded rapidly over the past ten years. Key components of energy, especially electric power, have shown strong growth each year. The previously dominant traditional energy supply (the non-cash economy supply of wood fuel and coconut residues still used by households and agroindustries) now accounts for less than half of Samoa’s primary energy supply. Growth in all forms of commercial energy demand is expected to continue through the next ten years, with highest growth in electricity followed by transport fuels.


The Tourism Development Plan 2002-2006 provides a framework for sustainable tourism development in Samoa.

The tourism industry has grown in recent years to become an important driver of the economy. Visitor arrivals have increased 57% between 1998 and 2008 with record growth recorded in 2006. Tourism earnings have grown 106% between 2001 and 2008 representing 20% of GDP. There has been remarkable growth in room capacity of 206% since the early nineties, albeit another setback is evident in the aftermath of the 2009 tsunami, particularly with the destruction of a large number of community tourism facilities. Assistance through development partners is targeted at the speedy recovery of the sector affected by the tsunami.


In 2009, Samoa submitted its fourth report to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Policies and legislations have also been developed and formulated such as the National Biodiversity Policy (NBP), National Deforestation Policy (NDP) and the National Heritage Policy (NHP) which were all approved in 2005. Samoa also has a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, a review of which was carried out in 2007.

Samoa’s terrestrial resources form an important cornerstone of the nations’ livelihood. In the past, the utilisation of some of these resources has mainly been for the purposes of subsistence. However, the development of some of these resources for commercial purposes has become commonplace. There has thus been further emphasis on the sustainable use and development of these resources. The Samoan people rely heavily on biological resources for their economic, social and cultural well-being. The use of natural resources for food, artisanal and medicinal purposes is an essential expression of the Samoan culture. Like its sister island states in the Pacific, Samoa’s geographical isolation from continental land masses and its vast distance from neighbouring island states have made it possible in the past to evolve a significant percentage of plant species endemism with a wide range of indigenous vegetative systems. Unfortunately, Samoa’s biodiversity is highly prone to tropical cyclones, drought, temperature fluctuation and changes in precipitation patterns leading to changes in habitat. 

Country Strategies: 
Title Programme Name Programme Description Year
Disaster management Strategy - Samoa Samoa's Natural Disaster Management Plan 2006
Energy Strategy - Samoa Pacific Regional Energy Assessment: Samoa National Report 2004
UNFCCC Nat Comm - Samoa Government of Samoa. First national communication to the UNFCCC Strategy Description 2000
NAPA - Samoa National Adaption Programme of Action Strategy Description 2005
NBSAP - Samoa Convention on Biological Diversity: Samoa;s Fourth National Report Strategy Description 2009
NSDS - Samoa World Summit on Sustainable Development Assessment Report 2002
Bill | 15 Jul 2013
12 July 2013: The Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) adopted the Nadi Draft Outcome Document, which will represent the Pacific region's contribution to the Inter-regional Preparatory Meeting for the 2014 Conference. The meeting, held in Nadi, Fiji, from 10-12 July 2013, was the second of three regional meetings in preparation for the Conference, which will take place in Apia, Samoa, in September 2014....
Bill | 12 Jul 2013
Highlights for Friday, 12 July 2013 The Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting for the 2014 Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) concluded Friday, 12 July 2013 in Nadi, Fiji. Member States continued their discussions with Major Groups and development partners through Friday morning, as Chair Amena Yauvoli (Fiji) invited participants to discuss the presentations made by Major Groups and development partners the previous day. Delegates praised the quality of...
Bill | 17 May 2013
Sixty-seventh session Agenda item 20 (b) Follow-up to and implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States Draft decision submitted by the President of the General Assembly Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States The General Assembly, Recalling its resolution 67/207 of 21 December 2012 in which it welcomed the offer of the Government of the...
External Resources: 
Title Programme Description Year
Official Website of the Government of Samoa
Samoa Ministry of Foreign Affairs
National focal point for sustainable development: 
Ministry of Finance