Enhancing sustainable cooperation for World Tsunami Awareness Day celebrations

Posted November 5, 2021

Moce island, Lau in Fiji (Photo: UNDP/Paula Cirikiyasawa)

Suva, Fiji
- The UN Development Programme (UNDP) handed over electronic equipment and awareness materials to the Ministry of Lands & Mineral Resources in Suva today. This is part of its Partnerships for Strengthening School Preparedness for Tsunamis in the Asia Pacific region (Tsunami Project) Phase III support for the World Tsunami Awareness Day celebration scheduled for Friday 5 November 2021.

The theme for this year’s celebration is to substantially enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support to complement their national actions for implementation of the Sendai Framework by 2030.

With the support of the Government of Japan, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji implemented the first phase of the “Partnerships for Strengthening School Preparedness for Tsunamis in the Asia Pacific Region (Tsunami Project)” from June 2017 to November 2018 to mitigate the impact of tsunamis by strengthening school preparedness in 18 disaster prone countries in Asia and the Pacific. The second phase, built on the impact and lessons learnt from the first phase, was launched in December 2018 (for another 18 months), engaging five new countries.

The Tsunami Project has achieved significant milestones during Phases I and II going above and beyond its target to develop tsunami preparedness plans for over 358 schools, held tsunami education programmes and conducted safe evacuation drills with 158,461, teachers and members of school administration trained over two phases.

The Tsunami project has put greater emphasis on scaling-up the scope of work and institutionalizing the preparedness and awareness programme to ensure sustainability of the project results. UNDP’s approach under Phase III focusses on promoting greater inclusion of most vulnerable groups and persons, integrating a human security lens and creating innovations that transform the way disaster preparedness is managed, ensuring that no one is left behind.

(L-R) UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Ms. Yemesrach Workie at the handover with the Permanent Secretary for Lands & Mineral Resources, Dr. Raiieli Taga. (Photo: Fiji Ministry of Lands & Mineral Resources)

Equipment at the handover. (Photo: Fiji Ministry of Lands & Mineral Resources)

In his message for World Tsunami Awareness Day, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “Rising sea levels caused by the climate emergency will further exacerbate the destructive power of tsunamis. We must limit warming to 1.5 degrees over pre-industrial averages and invest at scale in the resilience of coastal communities.”

“Science and international cooperation — as well as preparedness and early action — must be at the heart of our efforts to save lives from tsunamis and other hazard,” Secretary-General Guterres added.

Hence, boosting support to developing countries and improving detection and early warning is critical. The Permanent Secretary for Lands & Mineral Resources, Dr. Raiieli Taga in her remarks mentioned that UNDP’s support is also a clear and direct response to the Pacific Island Leaders call through the Pohnpei Statement: “Calling on development partners, the private sector and civil society to join with Pacific Island Countries and Territories to support the principles and the implementation of the Framework of Resilient Development for the Pacific (FRDP) through participation in the new Pacific Resilience Partnership.”

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Ms. Yemesrach Workie said, “Nothing can be achieved without co-operation, and such partnerships does warrant this imperative. UNDP relishes such opportunities, to continue working with governments in the Pacific to improve resilient lives of the communities at large.”

Ms. Workie emphasized that promoting inclusiveness, collection of Gender and disability disaggregated data will be emphasized for targeted communities and schools. This is to ensure that the project will be effectively implemented and that multi-hazard preparedness plans are holistically owned.

Activities planned for the World Tsunami Day awareness campaign include Facebook live, build up, webinars and the scheduled live tsunami siren test on 5 November.

For more information, please contact:

Paula Cirikiyasawa, Tsunami Project focal point UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, Email: paula.cirikiyasawa@undp.org Tel: +679 9004295

Emily Moli, Knowledge Communications Analyst, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, Email:  emily.moli@undp.org Mob: +679 722 5301 Twitter: @emily_moli