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Regional Review of Progress in Disaster Risk Management

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Six Pacific island countries are in the process of reviewing the progress made in relation to their disaster risk management action plans and strategies.

The Cook Islands, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are carrying out the reviews to determine advances made towards disaster prevention, preparedness, response and recovery as well as the management of hazard risks.

SOPAC and the Pacific SubRegional Office of the United Nations International Strategy support the progress reviews for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) Secretariat.


“Having Pacific island countries participating in the review can strengthen national capacities to self- monitor and evaluate their disaster risk management programmes and plans” says Angelika Planitz, Head of the UNISDR Sub-Regional Office for the Pacific.She emphasized that “the progress reviews are country-led processes that involve a broad spectrum of national stakeholders from government and civil society who have welcomed the rare opportunity to exchange information on their respective activities.

Results of the reviews completed “clearly indicate that effective planning and investment in risk reduction measures help reduce vulnerability and ultimately save lives,” according to Stephanie Zoll, SOPAC Advisor Community-based Disaster Risk Management.

She listed raising community awareness, effective early warning systems, and the enforcement of building and planning codes as measures that have effectively resulted in improved disaster management.

“The main challenge, however, is getting the government, donors, and those in the private sector engaged in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Disaster Management (DM) to work closely together, to focus on the most immediate priorities.”

“To often there is insufficient planning to put in place risk reduction measures before a disaster happens.  Early planning will go a long way towards reducing risk,” she said.

She added that results of the progress review will help to improve Disaster Risk Management planning and implementation at national and community levels as well as guide decisions on future priority investments.

The national reviews will be formally submitted to the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction, which is scheduled for 8 – 13 May 2011 in Geneva.

Caption:  Cyclone damage in the Cooks underscores the importance of reviewing Disaster Risk Management plans and policies.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 07:50  


9 April 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji – Work begins next week on a series of underwater surveys to produce updated navigational charts for Vanuatu.  Like many Pacific Island countries, Vanuatu has a vast maritime area. Modern charts will result in safer navigation for both cargo shipping and cruise ships, producing economic and social benefits for Vanuatu.

A team of hydrographers and technicians from the Government of Vanuatu and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Geoscience Division (GSD) will collect the necessary data over several months.  Their supported by the New Zealand government, the United Kingdom’s Hydrographic Office, and the Government of Vanuatu.

The survey will chart four critical areas which have been identified through a risk assessment carried out by New Zealand – Luganville and Champagne Bay on Espiritu Santo, and the islands of Wala, Malekula, and Homo Bay, Pentecost.

‘The port of Luganville in particular is of high economic value to Vanuatu,’ says Mr Jens Kruger, Acting Deputy Director of SPC’s Geoscience for Development Programme. ‘The current chart from this port relies mostly on 19th century data and no new information has been added to the chart since the Second World War.’

Starting in July 2014, the International Maritime Organisation’s Safety of Life at Sea Convention regulations will require member countries to move toward using electronic navigational charts in their regions for safe shipping reasons.