Handover Ceremony of Power Equipment to the Vanuatu Government

September 19, 2018

Hon. Ham Lini Vanuaroroa, Minister of Planning and Climate Change Adaptation

His Excellency, Ambassador Koichi Miyoshi

Senior Government Officials

Invited Guests

Ladies and gentlemen:

I am very pleased to join this ceremony of handing over power equipment and tools to strengthen Vanuatu’s response to disasters.

At the outset, I would like to acknowledge the Government of Japan for providing this valuable assistance through a UNDP initiative entitled “Enhancing Preparedness Capacity for Immediate Crisis Response and Early Recovery in Crisis Countries”. This global project deals with rapid response and capacity building for effective recovery from disasters. It is part of UNDP’s early recovery support to countries around the world, and we are very grateful to the Japanese Government for placing an enduring emphasis on recovery and reconstruction.

Globally, UNDP serves as the cluster lead for early recovery. As a development agency with a crisis prevention, response and recovery role, UNDP supports the humanitarian community in including the much needed development thinking into humanitarian response.

Early recovery is a set of specific programmatic actions to help people move from humanitarian relief towards self-sustaining development. Just as humanitarian responses are crucial in saving lives by responding to the most urgent human needs, integrating an early recovery approach within humanitarian operations is crucial to community recovery. It sets the stage for the long-term recovery and reconstruction efforts that are sustainable and resilient.

Early recovery encourages humanitarian response to emphasize the importance of rebuilding community capacity in the midst of a crisis, avoiding dependency, increasing the resilience of affected communities, and looking to solve long-standing problems that may have contributed to the crisis in the first place. Some of these programmatic actions include: emergency employment opportunities, commonly known as cash-for-work; community infrastructure rehabilitation; debris management; local governance support; aid coordination; and recovery planning and coordination. All early recovery actions are specifically designed to swiftly reinvigorate livelihoods and the local communities’ economies.

UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji has requested this equipment, worth more than USD 70,000, to be deployed to Vanuatu. It includes hand and power tools as well as protective gear for about 500 workers.

In the context of the Ambae response, the equipment is intended to support community infrastructure development, including community-led home construction. At the same time, the equipment provides opportunities for the creation of new skills – for instance, carpentry for females and males – and upskilling of existing community capacities. With these skills, community members can undertake activities such debris removal, solid waste management and rehabilitation of community infrastructure.

I hope the equipment will be instrumental in strengthening Vanuatu’s ability to prepare, respond and recover faster from disasters, especially in the light of lessons learned from tropical cyclones and recent volcanic eruptions. I would like to once again thank the Government of Japan, represented by Ambassador Miyoshi, for this valuable assistance. Japan continues to be a global leader in resilience with much to share with the world in terms of tested experiences, knowledge and resources.

In addition to this work, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, through its own emergency funding support, is providing USD 75,000 for Ambae volcano recovery coordination and assessment. Some activities planned for implementation with the Vanuatu Met and Geohazards Department (VMGD) include installation of visual volcano monitoring equipment on Pentecost Island; a monitoring camera on Ambae when it is safe for the VMGD technical teams to ascend the volcano; and community volcano risk awareness programmes in the evacuation centers in Maewo and Santo, covering the geo-technical aspects and uncertainties of volcanic behavior.

I would like to express UNDP’s appreciation to the Government of Vanuatu for the continuing partnership that benefits people on the ground, and to the Honorable Minister of Planning and Climate Change Adaptation for your strong support and leadership.

Tankiu Tumas!