Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
Pacific Regionalism Guides Pacific Resilience Partnership on Resilient Development

Resilient development for the Pacific region, that is informed by the challenges arising from climate change and disaster, is the goal of the Pacific Resilience Partnership (PRP) which met in Suva, Fiji for the first time last week. 

The Partnership will oversee implementation of the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP) which Pacific Islands Forum Leaders endorsed late last year in the Federated States of Micronesia.

“The FRDP and the Resilience Partnership are groundbreaking initiatives. Guided by the collaborative principles of Pacific Regionalism, the Partnership and FRDP represent a risk-informed approach to development, that factors the effects of climate change and disasters into the conceptual and planning phases of national and regional development strategies. This is the first time anywhere in the world that a regional response has been designed to complement the national policies on climate change and disaster risk management.” said Cristelle Pratt, Deputy Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.   

The first meeting of the Partnership was attended by representatives of Forum countries, civil society and development partners.

Charles Carlson, Director Emergency Management Cook Islands commended the FRDP and the PRP and shared his country’s experience of amalgamating climate change and disaster risk management national action plans, effectively addressing the need for coherence.

“Climate change and disaster risk management is actually part of our national sustainable development plan and it’s very important that it’s part of Government’s national development plan (so) they can be implemented as government policies,” Mr Carlson said.

“The regional framework is good for us … it’s very important that there’s some form of co-ordination at the regional level that can actually help us not only achieve our goals in-country, then we can actually achieve our goals at the global level.”

Papua New Guinea representative Jacob Ekinye, Director for Adaption and Projects, Climate Change and Development Authority and Project Director for the Pilot Programme Climate Resilient labelled the discussion “very good and relevant to all countries in the Pacific”.

“We look forward to a series of discussions following this because we still have to firm up on some of the issues and hopefully we get around to addressing them in subsequent meetings,” Mr Ekinye said.

Fiji’s Roving Ambassador and Special Envoy to CROP agencies, Litia Mawi said the phrase “pacific resilience partnerships” in itself represented three key words for her as far as the implementation of the FRDP was concerned: that it was about Pacific people, it was about investing in a resilient regional community and it was about partnerships.

Ambassador Mawi underlined the importance of partnerships as well in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals; partnerships is one of the five underlying principles - people, prosperity, planet, peace and partnerships - of the SDGs and its 17 goals, 169 targets and 230 indicators.

“When we walk through the PRP, it embodies all of those values. It’s up to the people who are part of the Pacific community themselves and the people who come in and buy in and align to the aspirations of the Pacific people, to enter into partnerships that will contribute meaningfully to building a resilient Pacific community,” Ambassador Mawi said.

Ambassador Mawi said despite geographic realities of an oceanic region, the onus was on all Forum members to work together for “the endpoint of all our efforts: a resilient Pacific community”.

Anne-Claire Goarant, the Senior Advisor for Multilateral Cooperation and Regional Organization at the Government of New Caledonia’s Office of Regional Cooperation and External Relations said the meeting was affirming for them as part of a regional climate change and disaster risk management community.

“We really hope we will add value to this meeting so that we can build a really strong and powerful and efficient climate change and disaster risk management, from the ground level to high level, leaders,” Ms Goarant said.

Sione Fulivai, the Climate Finance Analyst at the Tonga Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change, Communication and Information said as one of the pilot countries for developing a joint-framework on climate change and disaster risk management, Tonga was well-positioned for the roll-out of the FRDP.

Tonga’s joint national action plan (JNAP) features six goals which are already aligned to the principles and goals of the FRDP. Mr Fulivai said Tonga’s experience from its JNAP implementation processes had enriched them with lessons in areas like resource mobilisation and/or reporting methods, (lessons) which could benefit the FRDP roll-out.

“The question for Tonga here is what are the next steps we need to take in ensuring that we benefit as much as possible, not so much as a country but as a region through the FRDP and the PRP that is currently being developed,” Mr Fulivai said.

“In Tonga we’ve taken both a top-down, bottom-up approach working simultaneously so there’s input coming from both the top and the bottom; we like to use the term main-streamlining, mainstreaming and streamlining at the same time so it gives you a more robust pathway to climate change and disaster risk management resilience.”

Nauru’s Secretary for National Emergency Services Roy Harris said the discussion was fruitful, appreciating the knowledge-sharing and networking that it afforded country representatives and development colleagues.

“The Leaders have given us this task, how we can implement and start actioning what needs to be done and then from that we can take it back to our countries, recommending to our governments things that we need,” Mr Harris said.

French Polynesia Delegate for the International, European and Pacific Affairs in Charge of International Investments, Manuel Terai said being proactive and coordination were key human components to climate change and disaster risk management.

“[our Leaders} want us to be more efficient on the ground, so we need to be proactive, we need to coordinate our actions and we need to know exactly what should be done,” Mr Terai said.

The FRDPand its PRP working group will be platforms from which a collective approach to development issues related to climate change and natural disasters will be clarified, prioritised and addressed, through multi-sectoral resilience development.

“The Framework for Pacific Regionalism is about a common sense of identity and purpose and it is in this spirit of working together for solutions that the Pacific Resilience Partnership exists,” Deputy Secretary-General Pratt said.  

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