Collaboration needed among Pacific countries to address climate change

Miss American Samoa, Antonina Lilomaiava is a strong ambassador for her country in their battle against climate change, and environmental protection.

The 19 year old spoke with Loop Samoa about her aspirations as a young leader for her country in pushing for better climate change resilience, and also promoting  effort in preserving and taking better care of their environment.

“Our Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA is a well grouped organization that seeks to protect and preserve American Samoa’s lands. Through various programs we have managed to help preserve some of our key areas by just basically adopting land and then making it our responsibility to look after them,” she said.

“We operate under the directions of Ameko Pato the agency looks after various parts of the environment for American Samoa, including building resilience,” she added.

Ms. Lilomaiava is a student of the American Samoa Community college studying liberal arts and Accounting. She is currently working at the American Samoa’s Visitors Bureau in Tutuila.

“I am very much into accounting because of my family ties to making businesses. We have a lot of business people in the family and I want to do just the same,” she said.

Despite her passion for being an entrepreneur, Lilomaiava says her involvement in helping the environment is tremendous seeing that it’s a big issue not just for a single island, but the entire region.

“There are more ways to help build understanding and collaboration between our countries in the pacific. If we can focus on standing together to build a relationship where we mutually agree on the fact that climate change is a big threat for our region, no doubt the job will be much simpler,” she added.

“As a young leader, I have to become the voice and the role model for my fellow youth as well. Where I can speak for them, and at the same time able to share a good message, and fighting climate change is a really important one to say the least,” she added.

This Friday Ms. Lilomaiava will take the stage with six other contestants to vie for the Miss Pacific Islands crown currently being held by Papua New Guinea’s Abigail Havora. 

Joshua Lafoai