Post Disaster Needs Assessment Training of Trainers and Pacific Recovery Workshop

November 8, 2022

The Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management, Minister for Defence, National Security and Policing Hon. Inia Seruiratu.

The Deputy Director-General Science and Capability for the Pacific Community (SPC), Dr. Paula Vivili

Permanent Secretary for Rural & Maritime Development and Disaster Management, Mr. David Kolitagane

Recovery Advisor, UNDP Crisis Bureau, New York - Rita Missal

Lead Training Facilitator, Dr. Asha Kambon

Training participants, colleagues, and guests,

Bula vinaka and a very good morning to you all. 

Suva has been my home away from home for the last three years and for most of you, it has always been your home away from home since your university days. I welcome Dr. Asha Kambon from the Caribbean, Trinidad & Tobago here in Suva and thank you for facilitating the training in Vanuatu. Asha is from our Crisis Bureau in New York -welcome to Suva Asha!

The cyclone season has begun, and it is that time of the year not only in Fiji but across the respective countries you represent today. We completed a refresher Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) training last week in Vanuatu in collaboration with the Pacific Community (SPC). This partnership with the Vanuatu Government was made possible through the Department of Strategic Policy Planning and Aid Co-ordination (DSPPAC), the government agency responsible for recovery mandate in Vanuatu.

In amplifying ambitions, leveraging innovative and inclusive development solutions, and fostering genuine and durable partnerships, UNDP will continue to support SIDS in safeguarding progress on the Samoa Pathway, the 2030 Agenda and building back better, bluer and greener. This has led UNDP collaboration with the Pacific Community (SPC) at the regional scale to amplify development solutions, one of which was the regional meeting held in 2018. A lot has happened since, and I know the learnings have been put into practice and refined accordingly. Peer exchanges and learnings have in time and time again proved useful and effective in the Pacific. This is part and partial of UNDP’s SIDs Offer to respond to the Pacific’ s pressing development needs faced to build resilient societies.   

Whilst textbook content/material/model is sometimes abstract, the hybrid model of getting experts combining it with sharing lessons learnt in-country has an exponential impact to progress community of practice in whatever field pursued.

Here in the Pacific, the importance of community of practice, is not a conscious choice, to some of us it is a matter of survival, for the well-being of our people specifically for the elderly, women, persons with disabilities, youth, and minority groups.

We are equally excited that our partners and countries across the region are taking considerable efforts and making the commitment to include representation from vulnerable groups and women to attend, get exposed to these trainings since the impact of natural hazards is non-discriminant and affects everyone equally.

To my colleagues from around the Pacific, SPC and UNDP has modestly invested to bring you across the seas to the capital city to spend a week-long interaction on PDNA practice and recovery positioning in anticipation of the cyclone season, and the practice of years to come. 

Please make the best opportunity of what this workshop has to offer since your respective countries have placed faith in your nomination to make a productive contribution at the workshop and contribute to the on-going important work of building resilience back home.

I take this opportunity to thank the Fijian Government for its support to UNDP and SPC over the years - and I wish to personally thank Hon. Seruiratu for agreeing to officiate at the opening of the workshop today. I am confident that the ever-present support of the Fijian government will complement the value-added initiatives that we intend to undertake collectively with SPC in the region and will no doubt flourish to greater heights. 

My colleague, Rita Missal is also here from our Crisis Bureau in New York having been in Pakistan recently to assist the multilateral team for the flood recovery. I have confidence in her ability and together with Dr. Asha Kambon, they’ll make a formidable partnership, and the participants will enjoy a great global wealth of experience in the five days.  

Dear participants and esteemed guests, UNDP has been working with SPC on multiple areas of intervention over the years and one of which is Recovery interventions. 

As part of our renewed engagement, this was again revived in early 2021 for this project with the Asia Development Bank providing the renewed opportunity to engage and partner with regional partners such as SPC. I believe it is not only critical, but also imperatively strategic in the sense that such partnership intervention is sustained in the region given the complexities and subtleties of working in the Pacific region. 

I wish to thank Dr. Paula Vivili for being here today which is a testament of an extension of the mutual partnership, and one that will take us to the future. 

I welcome everyone once again and thank you for attending today’s official opening of the PDNA TOT/Pacific Recovery workshop. 

Thank you and vinaka vakalevu.