Pacific Ministers recognise the importance of strong consistent leadership and commitment to the resilience of the Blue Pacific at the Inaugural Pacific Disaster Risk Reduction Ministers Meeting today.
Government ministers responsible for disaster risk reduction in 17 Pacific Island Countries and Territories carry the burden of managing one of the most disaster-prone regions globally*.
The COVID-19 pandemic has reiterated the need for Pacific Island Countries to band together and collaborate with our partners to address the complex disaster and climate risks faced by countries and communities. The need for higher level dialogue and leadership to consider the best actions to strengthen resilience is the focus of the inaugural Pacific Disaster Ministers Meeting.
This inaugural meeting is being hosted by the Government of Fiji, and is organised by the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS). Ministers and officials will consider actions to strengthen integrated holistic disaster preparedness and response, risk informed investments and resilient recovery approaches that support efforts towards sustainable development.
In reiterating the need for stronger political commitment towards addressing priority issues in the region, Fiji’s Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Hon. Inia Seruiratu said this gathering of Pacific Islanders not only provides a platform for our stories and learnings to be told and shared, but is an opportunity for us to realise the wealth of experience that we possess in addressing DRR challenges and issues.
“I anticipate that during the next two days, we will demonstrate again that the Pacific Family is an avenue of solutions and innovations for emerging development needs,” Hon. Seruiratu said.
“As we deliberate, let us remember always that as Pacific Islanders we need to prepare better and collectively continue to progress our efforts in ensuring the future of our children and grandchildren are not compromised. Let us use the DRR Platforms, national and regional, to guarantee their continued access to sustainable livelihood, food and income security as well as enjoyment of the rich culture and tradition that is unique to us Pacific Islanders.”
SPC commended the Ministers participating in the meeting and acknowledged the importance of their leadership in disaster reduction and resilience in the Pacific.
“We know sea level rise is already happening, more intense waves are hitting communities and larger cyclones are occurring and with this the region continues to face earthquakes, tsunamis and other hazards so partners like the Pacific Community can best support members by providing scientific data and analyses that can inform and direct investments that address current and future impacts of disasters and climate change,” SPC Director-General Dr Stuart Minchin said.
The Ministerial Meeting will also provide an opportunity for Pacific Ministers to present a collective voice in helping guide the implementation of the:
- Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP) endorsed by Pacific Leaders in 2016 and is an integrated approach to disaster risk management and climate change actions in the Pacific. This is the guiding document for all resilience work recognising collective approaches across the Pacific;
- Boe Declaration adopted by Pacific leaders in 2018 expands the regional security agenda to consider climate change and disaster risk; and the
- 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy adopted by Pacific leaders 2022 to pursue innovative measures to address climate change impacts, disaster risk and sustainable development of the Blue Pacific.
The Meeting will culminate with the adoption of a Declaration which the Pacific Ministers will present at the Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (APMCDRR) in Brisbane, Australia 19th - 22nd September.
* Three most vulnerable countries to disaster noted by the World Risk Index 2021: Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tonga. The Pacific has 6 countries represented in the top 20 most at risk to disaster including (Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati and Fiji).
Aqela Susu, Senior Media Officer, Fiji Government | [email protected] or [email protected] Lisa Kingsberry, Team Leader Strategic Communications & Knowledge Management, Pacific Community (SPC) | [email protected] or +679 9252849 (Whatsapp)