The TA in consultation with the LWG has agreed to put together the legal framework, The TA will discuss this further with the stakeholders.
Further, the TA has been put on hold while the Office of the Special Project Facilitator investigate a complaint raised by four matais on the lack of consultations undertaken by the government with the stakeholders. On OSPF reccomendation, a consultation specialist is being recruited to assist in developing a conultation process that will include all the different stakeholders.
On 21 February 2014, after consulting with government, ADB responded to the complainants via letter to explain that the project was being led by government on behalf of the Samoan people and that the decision to pursue the project was reached after extensive public consultations undertaken by the government with ADB assistance. ADB also encouraged the complainants to approach the CLAC, an independent body set up by the government with the specific purpose of addressing the type of issues they raised in their letter to ADB.
Following this, ADB undertook 3 missions to Samoa to mutually agree with government and the complainants a plan of action that would help to address the issues they raised. The core focus of the plan is a wide-ranging community consultation strategy. ADB has since appointed Mr. Papalii Malietoa Malietau as the project coordinator. Mr. Papalii has been a part of the land reform project as a result of his previous employment with the Attorney General's office and is appropriately qualified to lead the next phase. The CLAC has had a change in leadership and has a new commissioner appointed by the Minister for Natural Resources and Environment.
The latest mission from 25 to 28 January 2016 introduced Ms. Leitumai (Mai) Malaulau, a Samoan national, as the consultation design specialist. At the meeting of all stakeholders, including the complainants, it was agreed that (i) cabinet approved policy statements on land reforms; (ii) other land reform issues papers; and (iii) the record of issues raised by the complainants, guide the development of a consultation strategy and consultation materials. All stakeholders agreed to work in a collaborative manner in the interest of the people of Samoa. The government and CLAC agreed to share all information pertaining to land reforms as requested by the complainants. The project has the potential to benefit from the close scrutiny afforded by the complainants.
The OSPF was satisfied with the progress made by the project team in ensuring that their recommendations were followed in response to the complaint. The government and ADB intend to keep the complainants engaged through regular consultations and intend the CLAC to maintain a lead role during the forward looking consultations. The complainants maintain their emphasis on the consultation process that it should follow traditional Samoan protocols and that consultation should cover issues that have been considered under Phases I and II of the project.