Thursday 11 August 2022, PIF HQ, Suva, FIJI—More than a hundred Pacific climate change and disaster officials have come away with strengthened knowledge through shared experience and learning to address resilience in their communities from an interactive two-days event held last week. The hybrid meeting was the first face-to-face regional gathering of climate change and disaster resilience practitioners in more than three years post COVID-19 pandemic.
Participants discussed ways to mainstream climate change and disaster risk considerations within their respective development plans. Participants discussed the basic constructs of resilience building such as leadership and governance; preparedness, capacity building, knowledge, and information sharing; coordination, partnerships; finance; effective planning, monitoring, and evaluation.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Zarak Khan, Pacific Islands Forum Director of Programmes and Initiatives, reiterated that “our Leaders have stated many times – climate change is an existential threat and addressing this and other hazards and shocks such as earthquakes and tsunamis, requires, amongst other things, that we continue to cultivate a culture of learning and knowledge sharing.”
“By broadening our knowledge, we can generate new ideas and be creative and innovative in terms of how we address resilience moving forward. The complexity of the environment in which we live requires this of us,” Mr. Khan added.
Ms. Vika Sivoki Lavemaau, Chief Economist, Ministry of Finance, Tonga highlighted that a key takeaway from the learning sessions was the “understanding that having a robust Public Finance Management system is a critical building block for risk-informed development.”
Mr. Jofiliti Saubuli Veikoso, Advocacy Officer, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Fiji and a representative from the youth reflected that the event provided a space for intergenerational learning on Resilience experiences.
“A takeaway for me is the importance of capacity building and knowledge sharing to the younger generation and the need to involve them in the planning process, the opportunity for leadership roles and investing more resources to help support resilience work in the Pacific”, he said.
Participants also shared their experiences in relation to a range of resilience building initiatives in emergency preparedness and response; training and capacity building; disaster risk financing; risk governance, and resilient infrastructure and investments in the region.
Representing the Private Sector, Ms Patricia Mallam, Knowledge Broker and Vice President of Fiji Business Disaster Resilience Council shared regional feedback from her peers from across the region, noting authentic relationships are critical to ensuring the resilience of communities.
This event was jointly organized and facilitated by PIFS, the Pacific Community (SPC), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP), Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building (PACRES) Project, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji, with funding support from the World Bank through the Pacific Resilience Program (PREP).
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