Delivered by Zarak Khan, Director -Programmes and Initiatives
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
02 August 2022
Good morning, Colleagues
I bid you all warm greetings and welcome to the Forum Secretariat for this, the seventh PREP Program Coordination Meeting. It is so wonderful to be able to have colleagues join us here in-person at the Forum and to also have other colleagues join in online. It’s been so long and it’s great to be able to have these opportunities to meet face-to-face. Over the last 2 years we have kind of forgotten what in-person contact is like and have just become accustomed to the somewhat impersonal virtual connections.
The last in-person meeting of the PCM was held here in 2019 and although it would have been more appropriate to have had this meeting in one of the PREP project countries, we are more than pleased to host you all once again.
The PREP has been in existence now for about 7 years and it seems like an eternity. Over the years we have been able to share our experiences and knowledge through this PCM mechanism and, as well, the Regional Advisory Committee. We’ve learned about the challenges of trying to establish multi hazard early warning systems and developing resilient infrastructure. Efforts to improve preparedness for disaster through sound disaster risk financing approaches have been shared. I’m sure we all can acknowledge how useful these annual opportunities have been.
The PREP Regional Coordination Unit at PIFS has played a major role in organising these meetings together with colleagues in the PREP team at SPC. This year, however, the PIFS PREP project will come to an end in October and perhaps as well, the SPC project, so we must try and find other ways of providing this opportunity to the country projects moving forward.
Shortly, all our projects will be able to share the work that you have been doing since the PCM last met virtually in August 2021. I understand you will reflect on the discussions and decisions taken at both the PCM and the Regional Advisory Committee last year and share the progress made since. This is important. We need to have this space to continue sharing, and through this type of mechanism, we can find ways to do business better in resilience building.
The PREP’s overall experience has been noteworthy and moving forward, I am glad that all of this is going to be documented in a knowledge product that can, hopefully, help all our countries with their future efforts. The knowledge product on the PREP’s experiences is one of two knowledge products that the PIFS project is working on. It will be shared with you all once it is completed. We also intend that the knowledge product helps to inform the Mid Term Review of the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific, which will take place in 2023.
I urge you to capitalize on this opportunity and explore others like this so that we can together enrich our resilience building efforts for the future.
Before ending, I would like to place on record at this meeting the deep gratitude of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to the World Bank for enabling us to be part of this PREP journey. The Forum has benefitted from the interaction with the Bank and as well through the expertise availed to us through the PREP. We have been able to make some significant progress through the investment from the Bank and look forward to our continued relations moving forward.
I thank you once again and look forward to learning of the outcomes of this meeting at the Regional Advisory Committee when it meets this Friday here at PIFS.