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Protecting the Pacific: 2010 Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management Meetings address concerns of the region

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Mr. Mosese Sikivou, Manager of the SOPAC Disaster Reduction Programme, said that the meeting “allowed for better risk management training and capacity building programmes that specifically target the heads of disaster offices and the disaster management support structures in the Pacific.

“Tropical cyclones affect the region on an annual basis. Events like the September 2009 tsunami that devastated Samoa and Tonga, and floods that submerged Fiji’s Western Division in January 2009, are constant reminders that people and governments must be prepared to deal with natural disasters at a moment’s notice,” said Mr Sikivou.

With Regional Disaster Managers coming from the Pacific Island countries and territories of the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, New Zealand, Australia, and, for the first time, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna, the meeting took the form of a professional development workshop.

The participants examined in detail the extensive current and future demands of the Disaster Manager’s role, and established their collective perception as to the capacity building support they require.

A principle outcome of the workshop was a review of the role of the Disaster Manager “especially with the new challenges they are facing as a part of their governments’ commitment to strategies such as climate change adaptation and disaster risk management.

“The Disaster Managers developed new job descriptions which identified key responsibility areas and adopted personal training plans and priorities,” said Mr. Sikivou.  He said that the results of the workshop “exceeded expectations.”
Future training programmes to support Regional Disaster Managers will comprise a mix of DRM-specific as well ‘corporate leadership/management’ capacity building.

Forming the second part of the 2010 Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management was the 5th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Disaster Risk Management Partnership Network from 12th -13th August. This provided an opportunity for the direct exchange of ideas on matters of mutual concern to Pacific Island countries and territories.

Taking place over two days, the meeting provided a platform to share experiences of collaboration with various stakeholders in relation to the implementation the Pacific Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management Framework for Action 2005-2015. More than 50 development partners, disaster risk management practitioners and donor organisations, including new comers to the Partnership Network such as Vodafone Fiji Limited, Femlink Pacific and the South Pacific Engineers Association attended the meeting.

Pacific Disaster Managers also had the opportunity to learn from the experiences of colleagues from six Caribbean based organisations, through a United Nations Development Programme-sponsored South-South exchange project. Started in 2009, this programme aims to help Caribbean and Pacific Small Island Developing States share technologies and best practices, in relation to disaster risk management and climate change adaptation. The programme has already seen two Pacific delegations visit the Caribbean in December 2009 and July 2010.

“This multi-stakeholder approach brought together people from all sorts of backgrounds who can play a part in disaster risk management,” Mr Sikivou said. Exploring a multitude of avenues with different stakeholders enables us to find ways to ensure people are better prepared to deal with challenges both before and after a disaster strikes.”

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Mosese Sikivou addressing Regional Disaster Managers at the professional development workshop.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 August 2010 08:45  


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