Delivered by Dr Filimon Manoni, Deputy Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum
Asia Pacific Partnership for Disaster Risk Reduction Forum
23 May 2022
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Warm greetings from the Pacific Islands Forum.
We are grateful to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction for the invitation to attend this Asia-Pacific Partnership for Disaster Risk Reduction meeting and to the Government and people of Indonesia for graciously hosting us here in Bali.
The Asia Pacific Partnership for DRR is an important milestone as we move forward towards the Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction to be held in Brisbane, Australia in September this year.
Pacific Island Countries have continuously emphasised that we are on the front line of climate change and disaster risk. Three Pacific Island countries are listed as the first three of the top 15 most at-risk countries in the world as per the 2021 World Risk Index1
In January of this year, we were reminded yet again of our vulnerability and exposure when Tonga experienced a volcanic eruption and tsunami which caused damage estimated at 18.5 percent of GDP. This happened during our cyclone season and in a time where we are all trying to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Dealing with multiple hazards is something that we all must become accustomed to. Our resilience building efforts must be raised to another level and we must exhaust all avenues to ensure that our societies are better prepared for, can respond to, and recover from the types of pressures and shocks that we face. We also need real and consistent commitment to attend to the needful.
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, as the premier political body in the Pacific, reaffirms its commitment as a regional organisation to coordinate and support the implementation of the regional resilience agenda.
We are keen to work with all stakeholders to derive some tangible outcomes at the APMCDRR in September. We want to elevate the disaster risk management discourse in the Pacific, strengthen regional leadership and galvanise efforts to strengthen disaster preparedness, response and recovery. We are working closely with our partners like the Pacific Community and are keen to hold an inaugural meeting of Pacific Ministers responsible for Disaster Risk Management in the margins of the APMCDRR.
We fully support the themes of the conference as relevant and reflective of several of our Pacific priorities. We are also keen to support the many opportunities in the conference where Pacific stories will be shared with our friends from Asia and other regions. Our experiences in addressing vulnerability and risk in coastal communities will, we hope, be useful to support resilience interventions on a wider front.
We look forward to engaging with you during this meeting and with the wider global community and commend UNDRR for continuing its invaluable effort to connect key actors in the Asia-Pacific region.
I thank you.