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Les responsables en matière des catastrophes et urgences du Pacifique s'engagent en faveur du renforcement de la résilienceLes responsables en matière des catastrophes et urgences du Pacifique s'engagent en faveur du renforcement de la résilience

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Pacific disaster and emergency managers rally commitment towards resilience building

Managers and stakeholders from the disaster and emergency management sectors in 15 Pacific Island countries convened in Nadi, Fiji, to review progress, obstacles, and prospects in regional cooperation to enhance disaster preparedness and response.

The Pacific Regional Disaster and Emergency Managers Meeting (PRDEMM), convened by the Pacific Community (SPC), includes participants from the directors of National Disaster Management Offices (NDMO), heads of fire and police, donor partners, regional organisations, and international development and humanitarian organisations.

In recent months, the Pacific region experienced widespread devastation, including severe floods in Fiji, intense droughts in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, as well as flooding, landslides, and an earthquake disaster in Papua New Guinea. Additionally, Vanuatu is grappling with the aftermath of two tropical cyclones that struck within 48 hours of each other in 2023, highlighting ongoing recovery challenges.

The collective goal of the PRDEMM is to mobilise substantial resources to mitigate disaster impacts, enhance partnerships, share innovative strategies, and optimise resource utilisation to safeguard communities against the escalating threats of climate change and disaster risks.

Highlighting the recent environmental challenges faced by the Pacific, the Fiji Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management and current Chair of the Pacific Disaster Risk Reduction Ministerial, Honourable Sakiasi Ditoka, underscored the undeniable urgency of the climate and disaster crises.

The significance of your gathering this week cannot be overstated. It offers a vital platform to review the progress, challenges, and prospects arising from the commitments to resilience action articulated by Pacific Disaster Risk Reduction Ministers in 2022,” said Hon. Ditoka.

Resilience is fortified through the adoption of innovative strategies and close collaboration with country counterparts and regional partners to optimise resource utilisation.”

He added, “Pacific governments are tasked with the formidable duty of mobilising $1 billion annually to mitigate the losses and damages inflicted by disasters in our region.”

The PRDEMM stands as a testament to the region’s unified commitment to enhancing resilience, reflecting a shared vision and concerted efforts to protect and empower the Pacific islands in the face of global environmental challenges.

The Director for the Geoscience, Energy and Maritime (GEM) Division of SPC, Rhonda Robinson, in her statement, honoured the dedication of governments and development partners.

SPC remains committed to working with and exploring opportunities with members and partners to strengthen resilience. We continue to be guided by the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP),” said Ms. Robinson.

The PRDEMM allows us to discuss the progress we’ve collectively made and the plans we need to make to address the risks related to climate change and disasters, including the collective results achieved with members of the Pacific Resilience Partnership to realise the Commitments to Action in the Declaration of the Pacific DRR Ministers.”

She added, “Let me reiterate: this is not a journey we’ve made alone. The actions undertaken and results achieved have been a culmination of investment and commitment by our national disaster risk management focal points, development partners, Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP) and United Nations (UN) agencies and individuals like all of us in this room today.”

The Pacific Regional Disaster Emergency Management Meetings (PRDEMM) are held in conjunction with the steering committee meetings of two major regional projects: the Pacific Islands Emergency Management Alliance (PIEMA) Project and the Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific Project (BSRP). These projects are at the forefront of advancing the region's resilience agenda. Additionally, the upcoming Pacific Humanitarian Warehousing Program (PHWP) initiative is set to further contribute to this agenda.