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Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management 2009

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The first meeting of the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management was held in Nadi, Fiji from 7 - 15th of May 2009. The Pacific Platform is comprised of a series of Pacific regional meetings of national focal points for disaster risk management; regional development partners and key decision makers of Pacific governments; CEOs responsible for Finance and Planning and Disaster Management.

The Pacific Platform concept has its origins in the UN Secretary-General’s? report A/60/180 which points out the intention of a strengthened UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) system to support regional networks for advocacy for disaster risk reduction and cooperation at regional and sub-regional levels in support to national initiatives and platforms.
As such the purpose of convening the Pacific Platform was to allow for a single forum of exchange and sharing of experiences within the Pacific in relation to policy and operational aspects of disaster risk reduction and disaster management; as well as to prepare for and consolidate the pacific’s position and participation at the Second Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction. The Pacific Platform in 2009 was comprised of:

1. 15th Regional Disaster Managers Meeting, 7th - 8th May 2009
2. 4th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Disaster Risk Management Partnership Network, 12th - 13th May 2009
3. 2nd Pacific Regional Disaster Risk Management Meeting for Pacific CEO’s of Finance/Planning and Disaster Management, 14th - 15th May 2009

In addition to the formal platform SOPAC, SPREP and the WMO coordinated and facilitated a Joint Pacific Regional Meeting of Meteorological Service Directors and Disaster Managers on the 11th May.

Regional disaster managers met and reviewed progress of implementation of initiatives within their respective countries, identified national priority areas under the themes of the Regional Framework for Action for which support and technical assistance could be forthcoming from development partners and SOPAC’s CRP work programme. The central theme of the meeting was to strengthen their national capacity for improved disaster risk management, where they were taken through practical exercises on the use of Pacific Disaster Netexternal link and the Regional Framework for Action online monitoring toolexternal link - tools that are designed to improve efficiency, particularly in their capacity for responding to events after receiving notifications and alerts; as well as reporting and monitoring of progress of implementation.

The joint meeting of the Regional Disaster Managers and Regional Meteorological Service Directors was developed to provide an opportunity for direct exchange and learning between these two important groups on matters of mutual concern such as early warning systems/communications.

The 4th Annual Meeting of the Pacific DRM Partnership Network convened development partners, donors, regional meteorological service directors, national disaster managers and as well a delegation from the Caribbean to fulfill the meeting objectives of:

1. Review the status of current and planned Partnership activities in the Pacific.
2. Establish South-South? Cooperation with the Caribbean community
3. Examine opportunities for improved strategic alliances and engagement at regional and national level within the Pacific

As well, the summary records containing key outcomes of the earlier meetings of the national disaster managers and their joint meeting with meteorological service directors of the region was presented to partners to assist in identifying areas where the partnership could concentrate activities on in the Pacific. A highlight of the partnership meeting were the presentations from the Caribbean delegation of their initiatives in disaster risk management and the catastrophe risk insurance facility of that region which provided insights into the model which is being designed for the Pacific. The meeting was a further opportunity to work co-operatively and collaboratively in the interests of reducing the risks faced by Pacific countries to disasters.

The Pacific Platform concluded with the 2nd meeting of CEO’s for finance and planning and disaster management for which its intention is to ensure that risk considerations are given a greater prominence in planning and budgeting systems within Government and at each level within the national economy. This meeting focussed particularly on how crucial the leadership of central agencies are in the contribution of addressing disaster risk management to the overall national sustainable development.

Overall appreciation and commendation was expressed by partners for the success of such a first Platform. The concept of the CEO’s finance and planning/disaster management meeting was applauded by the Caribbean delegation who indicated their keenness in replicating the idea in the Caribbean. The UNISDR commended and acknowledged the immense work on disaster risk management that’s been undertaken in the Pacific Region and reiterated their continued support and collaboration with the region and their role in ensuring that such achievements are shared in Geneva. Further, the excellent leadership of SOPAC with regards to disaster risk management was commended and applauded.

The key outcomes of each meeting can be accessed in the following summary records and communiqué:

1. 15th Regional Disaster Managers Meeting ; summary recordexternal link

2. Joint Pacific Regional Meeting of Meteorological Service Directors and Disaster Managers: summary recordexternal link

3. Summary record : 4th annual meeting of the Pacific Disaster Risk Management Partnership Networkexternal link

4. Communiqué : disaster risk management for sustainable development in Pacific Island Countries - the need for leadership by central agenciesexternal link



Thursday 19 September 2013, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji – On 19 September, guest lecturer Dr. Tom Durrant of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology presented his wave modelling research to students at USP Marine Science Campus. This new research provides a better understanding of ocean wave movements across the Pacific and will be used by SPC’s Applied Geoscience and Technology (SOPAC) Division to enhance development planning and disaster management in the region.

According to Durrant, “Waves and wave climate have significant implications for coastal security, marine resources, and alternative energy options. Waves on the ocean, Durrant explained, range in period from tidal waves, with periods of 12 and 24 hours, to Tsunamis, with periods around 15 minutes, to wind driven waves with periods of around 2 to 20 seconds.

In the case of wind driven waves, the focus of Durrant's work,  the longer the wind blows over a greater area, the bigger the waves. Pacific Islands are affected not only by local, short period, wind-generated waves but also by long period swells generated by far away storms.

Long period swell waves are fast-moving waves caused by distant storms that can pile up when they reach land. Such waves have caused widespread flooding, damage and loss of life in the Pacific, for example, in the Mortlock Islands of Papua New Guinea in 2009 and in the Marshall Islands in 2012. “These events haven’t been studied much because of lack of data,” said Durrant.

To this end, Durrant has been working under the AusAid-funded Pacific and Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning (PACCSAP) Programme to develop wave models for the Pacific that can in turn be used to assess wave-induced coastal inundation events in detail.