SUVA, Fiji—National Disaster Management officers from 15 Pacific Island countries gathered in Fiji on Friday to review their successes and challenges in preparing for, responding to and recovering from disasters in the region, such as Cyclone Pam.
The European Union-supported Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific project is bringing the disaster managers together for the project’s annual Regional Steering Committee implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community to review the challenges, progress, and best way forward into 2016.
The meeting comes on the eve of the 9th Conference of the Pacific Community in Niue at which member countries, stakeholders and implementing partners will consider ways of building resilience in the region, based on the event theme, “Resilient Pacific people: Turning the tide.”
The €19.36 million BSRP project allows country representatives to address risks from disaster and climate change in line with their national priorities during its second year of implementation.
The European Union Delegation for the Pacific, acting Head of Cooperation, Jesús Laviña, said: The EU realizes that while the Pacific region has huge potential, it is the most vulnerable to natural disasters and thus the EU is committed to building resilience features prominently in both its humanitarian and development assistance. The EU commitment is not only about doing more it is also about doing better.
BSRP project manager Taito Nakalevu said understanding the challenges we face as a region whilst ensuring National Disaster Managers have the capacity to create country-specific responses is crucial to the long-term sustainability of effective disaster mitigation and response into the future.
“The BSRP project has already achieved great success with many countries working together with key partners to bring more efficient and collaborative approaches to disaster management which is highly effective for natural and related hazards that affect the region,” he said.
Nakalevu said this project is dedicated to supporting national needs for each country to best prepare, respond and recover from disaster whilst boosting institutional capability of each National Disaster Management Office which will be evident with a special announcement and launch of key supporting materials next week in Niue by the European Union, SPC and the Government of Niue. (SPC)