Suva, Fiji – Pacific Island countries are facing considerable development challenges due to the increasing impacts of climate change and extreme geo-hazard events. Development must be risk informed to reduce vulnerability to climate change and disasters in the region.
The Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP), endorsed by Pacific leaders in 2016, advocates for risks to be managed in the context of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) convened a board meeting in Suva on 19 - 20 November, to consider a new project on Governance for Resilient Development in the Pacific. This project aims to mainstream climate change and disaster risk into development planning and budgeting across the region and builds on from the Pacific Risk Resilience Programme (PRRP). The project will work with Pacific countries in managing risks from climate change and disasters in through: planning and financing systems; country oversight and accountability systems; and regional mechanisms, organizations, policies and practices.
The two-day meeting brought together representatives from Pacific Island governments such as ministries of finance, planning, women, climate change, environment, infrastructure and agriculture, development partners, private sector, advocacy groups and oversight functions across the Pacific to share their knowledge around risk-informing development, specifically focusing on financing, gender and social inclusion and local level governance for risk-informed development.
A key lesson learned emerging from the discussions is the need for systems change within development planning and financing to adapt to the risks of climate change and disasters.
The Deputy Resident Representative of the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, Karin Takeuchi explained, "If climate and disaster risks are not at the forefront of development, then development itself is unsustainable."
Echoing the same sentiments, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Environment in Solomon Islands, Dr. Melchior Mataki said, “Development itself can be a source of disasters.”
In order for development to change, we also need to see “development finance as climate finance” explained Climate Finance Specialist from the Fiji Ministry of Economy, Vineil Narayan.
The Governance for Resilient Development in the Pacific project is partnering with a range of partners including the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
Summer Lee, Partnership Liaison and Communications Specialist, Governance for Resilient Development in the Pacific, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji; tel: +679 322 7767; email: email@example.com