[Nadi – July 10] The integration of climate change and disaster risk management functions is taking place at the national and community level in various ways. Today, at the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management and the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable, representatives from Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Tonga shared concrete examples of how these are impacting at the national level.
Andrew Prakash, the Director of Economic and Productive Division Planning, Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination said that since 2010, the Government of Solomon Islands in consultation with its partners had taken steps to integrate climate change and disaster risk management , with particular focus on two main areas – the institutional structure of government , and the government planning process.
“This approach allows us to avoid duplication of programmes and activities. It also offers the opportunity to take a realistic approach in developing implementable projects with proper risk analysis and costing.”
Brian Philips from the newly established National Advisory Board (NAB) for Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change in Vanuatu described the functions of the NAB.
“The NAB is a committee made up of government and non-government members. Its primary purpose is to “Act as Vanuatu’s supreme policy making and advisory body for all disaster risk reduction and climate change programs, projects, initiatives and activities,” said Mr Philips.
The Country Manager from Live and Learn in Vanuatu, Dr Andrina Komala Lini Thomas said that it was important to have champions that drove the integration process and added that NAB had a number of champions.
She said that through NAB Live and Learn had assisted with community level consultation process on REDD+.
“The community members we met were very pleased to be consulted on national policy. They said it was the first time they were being consulted.”
Ms. Lilika Fusimalohi, from the Tongan Ministry of Finance and National Planning shared the example of a community level project – the Governance Strengthening Pilot Initiative in ‘Eua Region. She acknowledged the support of the Pacific Risk Resilience (PRR) Programme in implementing the initiative, together with support provided by other partners.
“My key message to development partners would be to contextualize assistance. What may be a risk in one context may not be so in another. That is why we need tailoured solutions to meet national or local needs,” Ms Fusimalohi said.
The discussions at the event also heard from the Cook Islands on their draft legislation that jointly addresses climate change and disaster risk reduction.
One of the questions following the presentations was whether there was not a “mainstreaming fatigue”?
In summing up the session, the Pacific Risk Resilience (PRR) Programme Coordinator Moortaza Jiwanji said the presentations reflected that disaster risk management and climate change integration were not about mainstreaming blindly.
“The challenge lies in identifying the risks faced by a community, and then designing, building the capacity and implementing projects that address these risks” he said.
The discussions took place at the Side Event on Strengthening Resilience – institutional approaches to integration at the country level during the third day of the Joint Meeting of the Pacific Disaster Risk Management and Pacific Climate Change Roundtable. The session was organised with support from UNDP and GIZ. It was moderated by Jotham Napat, the Director General, Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-hazards, Environment and Energy in Vanuatu.
Meanwhile earlier in the day, UNDP Pacific Centre’s Karen Bernard together with UNISDR’s Timothy Wilcox co-facilitated a session on the private sector’s role in helping address disaster risks. The session heard from the Westpac Banking Corporation Chief Executive Officer Adrian Hughes, Clay Energy’s Bruce Clay and the PIGGAREP project’s Sili’a Kilepoa. A variety of suggestions were made by the panelists and audience on how sectors such as hotel industry, energy sector, banking and others can find synergies to address disaster and climate change in view of shared interests. African and Caribbean delegate shared insights from their regions on this issue.
The Joint Meeting of the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management and the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable concludes tomorrow, July 11. It is jointly organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme. The meeting is hosted by the Government of Fiji.