(from the left) Mr Robert Glasser (Special Representative of the Secretary General for DRR) ; Ms Audrey Aumua (Deputy Director-General of the Pacific Community - SPC); Dr Mahendra Reddy (Minister for Education - Fiji); HE Andrew Jacobs (EU Ambassador to the Pacific)
The Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management was held at the Holiday Inn, Suva, Fiji on 24-26 October 2016. 185 participants from 18 nations and territories, including Pacific Island countries and territories, Australia, New Zealand and Japan attended. Participants were from the following stakeholder groups: national and local governmental organisations, multilateral organisations, international and regional organisations, civil society, private sector and academia. The regional Pacific Platforms for Disaster Risk Management have been held each year since 2009 and are co-hosted by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the Pacific Community (SPC).
The three-day meeting was an opportunity to inform national and regional stakeholders of the regional implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, as well as to present the newly adopted Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP). The Platform also provided a space for stakeholders to discuss Pacific preparations for the upcoming Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction to be held in Mexico in May 2017. Outcomes from the Pacific Platform will be fed into the discussions leading up to the Global Platform.
The Platform launched the newly adopted Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific: An Integrated Approach to Address Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management (FRDP) 2017-2030, the first of its kind in the world. This strategy plays an important role in the region as it provides high level voluntary guidance to stakeholders to build resilience to climate change and disasters in ways that contribute to and are embedded in sustainable development as well as a platform for increased partnerships and collaboration.
The Platform provided the opportunity for the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and the Pacific Disability Forum to launch the new Pacific Framework for the Rights of Persons with Disability (PFRPD) 2016-2025. The strategy is constituted by five main goals, whereby Goal 4 addresses persons with disabilities in climate change adaptation measures and disaster risk management plans and policies.
The meeting also focused on the contributions of the private sector in the region in terms of coordinated disaster response and to community resilience building activities. They play a crucial role as during disasters, many core functions are enhanced by the private sector (such as communications); hence, governments should engage the private sector in supply chain management. Finally, it was recommended processes around DRR for the private sector are enhanced, such as training, councils, partnerships, funding and business plans.
The Ministers of Education from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, and ministerial representation from Samoa attended the Platform for the first time and committed to promoting mechanisms for school safety, through synergies and economies of scale; they also agreed to take part to UNISDR’s Worldwide Initiative for Safe Schools (WISS) as School Safety Leaders.
Finally, with the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction coming up in May 2017 in Cancun, Mexico, the Pacific Platform offered an opportunity to discuss with Pacific stakeholders their role in the Global meeting. As this will be the first Global Platform following the adoption of the Sendai Framework for Risk Reduction, it will be centred on the implementation of the Framework.
(from the left) Ms Netatua Pelesikoti (Director of the Climate Change Division at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme - SPREP); Honorable Joeli Cawaki (Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development & National Disaster Management for Fiji); Ms Cristelle Pratt (Deputy Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat - PIFS); Ms Audrey Aumua (Deputy Director General of the Pacific Community - SPC)
Participants to the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management 2016 / Credit: the Pacific Community (SPC)