PIF-HQ, Suva, Friday 3 September, 2021 – Pacific government officials from the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), Tonga and Samoa and partner agencies have come away from their latest meeting with best practice and coordination tips to strengthen country and regional-level resilience.
In the sixth coordination meeting since the World Bank-funded Pacific Resilience Program (PREP) began in 2015, PREP partners met virtually under the theme of ‘Optimism and Opportunity – Working in the COVID-19 World’. They shared lessons learned from the program, as well as solutions to strengthen program implementation, particularly in the challenging context of the current COVID-19 situation.
“One of the solutions taken to address the challenge of managing multiple contractors is the reallocation of lead persons to each project activity. This cross divisional support across the Ministries ensures that all the implementing agencies own the different activities and monitor progress,” Samoa PREP Project Manager commented.
Building the capacity of local private sector and strengthening partnership with local stakeholders is critical for the delivery of programs especially when other personnel are working remotely due to COVID-19 travel restrictions according to Tonga and RMI project teams and echoed by all PREP partners and implementing agencies.
Key national-level achievements highlighted at the meeting include the completion of the National Emergency Operation Centre in Apia (Samoa); the establishment of Emergency Operation Centres in Ha’apai and Vava’u, Tonga; the reconstruction and repairing/retrofitting of school buildings (Tonga); training of twelve qualified Meteorologists (Tonga); progress towards the development of a National Adaptation Plan, as well as the completion of a Coastal Vulnerability Assessment for Ebeye and progress towards completing one for Majuro (Marshall Islands).
Major regional achievements included the commencement of the Certificate VI in Disaster Risk Management (Team Leadership) Course; and the development of coastal flood inundation models for Marshall Islands, Samoa and Tonga by the PREP Pacific Community and the PREP project at the Forum Secretariat developed 2 knowledge products to support risk finance and risk governance decision-making across the region.
During the opening session, Mr Zarak Khan, PIFS Director for Programmes and Initiatives and Dr Andrew Jones, Director for SPC’s Geoscience, Energy and Maritime Division – regional both spoke highly of the support provided by the PREP team and the milestones achieved in advancing regional resilience building priorities, despite COVID-19 challenges. Dr. Habiba Gitay, World Bank Senior Climate Change Specialist thanked project partners for progressing actions to adapt to climate change and disaster risks and highlighted the opportunity the Coordination Meeting provide to share experiences and improve implementation.
The meeting co-facilitated by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and the Pacific Community (SPC) brought together more than 40 participants of the PREP implementing agencies from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga, SPC and the PIFS. World Bank representatives also joined the meeting. The outcomes will inform the PREP Regional Advisory Committee meeting later this month.–ENDS
Lori deBrum, Communication and M&E Officer
‘Elina Kaufusi Bloomfield, Communication and M&E Officer
Maliliga S Vasa, M&E Officer
Pacific Islands Forum
Sharon Tohaimae, PREP Monitoring & Communications Officer