4 July 2013 (Lautoka, Fiji) – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Fiji have started a project to support the people in Fiji to restore and sustain their livelihoods and build their resilience around natural disasters.
The Fiji Livelihoods Recovery through Enhanced Food Security project will work with community groups comprising of women, youths and cooperatives to develop their skills to enhance food security. The project is in response to the government’s Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) recommendations.
The two-year project with total budget of US$ 370,000 will also contribute to developing capacity of the Department of Agriculture in strengthening disaster risk management in the agriculture sector. The Ministry of Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics, the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries have collectively pledged US$40,000 to support the project.
Opening the project initiation workshop yesterday, Pita Wise, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics, said, “There is no doubt that the occurrence of natural disasters has become regular than ever before as experienced during the two flash floods and Tropical Cyclone (TC) Evan last year.Our experience from TC Evan has demonstrated the resilience of our people in the face of adversity, and great determination to get back on their feet, take stock and rebuild. We are intent on building our resilience further and put in place measures from lessons learnt to introduce more efficient and effective ways in dealing with national emergencies.”
He said that the workshop was timely to ensure successful project implementation.
“In reviewing the programme of the workshop, I noted with interest its content, which focuses on practical issues which are critical for a community-based approach to Enhance Livelihood prior to and after disaster. Therefore I urge everybody to learn and appreciate community based approach in supporting one another, more importantly to agree on a platform of action that is practical, gender-sensitive and sustainable to benefit all those that have been affected and be prepared for the future.”
Akiko Fujii, the Deputy Resident Representative and Acting Resident Representative of UNDP also spoke at the workshop.
“This project is not about short-term financial gains – it’s about increasing disaster resilience and achieving sustainable development in communities. I expect that all participants in this workshop will go back to your communities with clear objectives and action plans, so you will be the catalysts for changes in the communities,” said Ms Fujii.
The two-day initiation workshop finishes today. 34 representatives from 16 groups of women, youths and cooperatives from Lautoka and Yasawa are participating at the workshop. It is also attended by senior officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics as well as District officers.