Mr. Meleti Bainimarama, Permanent Secretary for Rural and Maritime Development, Disaster Management and Meteorological Services
Mr. Lasse Melgaard, World Bank Representative for the South Pacific
Mr. Christoph Wagner, Head of Cooperation for the Delegation of the European Union
Mr. David Hebblethwaite from the Pacific Community
Training participants from Pacific Island Countries and CROP agencies
Ladies and gentlemen:
I am pleased to be here today to join colleagues from the Pacific Community, the European Union, the World Bank, and UN sister agencies, for the launch of the regional Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) and Disaster Recovery Framework (DRF) Training, and its immediate follow-up activity, a Training of Trainers.
Let me start by sharing a brief background to this initiative and highlight a few of its key achievements from UNDP perspective.
One of the major challenges facing Pacific Island Countries is building resilience in the face of increasing hazards of potentially higher destructive capability, in a fiscally constrained global environment. A solution pathway to address this challenge was offered by a global program entitled “Strengthening Capacities for Post-Disaster Needs Assessment and Recovery Preparedness (or PDNA Rollout II Program)”, implemented by UNDP in alliance with the European Union and World Bank. The initiative aims to contribute to building resilience of countries by enhancing national and regional capabilities to assess, plan, implement, and monitor post-disaster recovery processes.
In the Pacific, this global program is complemented by the Russian-funded “Disaster Resilience for Pacific SIDS (RESPAC)” project, which organizes and co-funds national and regional PDNA training activities. In 2017 for instance, RESPAC project supported national PDNA training workshops for Cook Islands and Tonga. In addition, a regional PDNA Review workshop was held in Suva in September last year.
Recommendations coming out of the Review included the need for technical skills development programmes not only on the application of the PDNA methodology, but also on estimating the cost of needs for recovery and reconstruction. The Review called for the establishment of mentoring programmes to develop a cadre of national and regional PDNA and Disaster Recovery Framework experts.
RESPAC project, through South-South cooperation modality, supported disaster recovery in Solomon Islands through the formulation of an Earthquake Recovery Plan in 2017. More recently, similar support modality was activated for drafting of the TC Gita Recovery Framework for Tonga. Through this initiative, two national and regional experts from Fiji and Solomon Islands were deployed.
In 2018, a national PDNA training is planned for Vanuatu. Building on the next week’s Training of Trainers event, two ToT trainees will support the lead facilitator in this engagement in Vanuatu.
Training participants, ladies and gentlemen:
The training program we’re launching today will provide you with practical tools to conduct a Post-Disaster Needs Assessment, to identify recovery needs in case a major disaster occurs in our region, and support national authorities in the design of a people-centered Disaster Recovery Framework.
Most of you have had first-hand experience in post-disasters contexts, and know how important it is to be clear about the roles and responsibilities of national actors involved in assessment processes and recovery planning; about structuring the work of sectors; and about prioritizing and sequencing transparent resource allocations for recovery and reconstruction.
The PDNA and the DRF tools have been developed precisely to address these questions, and to bring multiple stakeholders around one common and inclusive government-owned platform for recovery. In the past few years, the Pacific region has come a long way in taking up and testing these tools, and we now have a golden opportunity to make a change towards more efficient and effective recovery frameworks.
I would also like to emphasize that we must make sure that post-disaster recovery processes are used as opportunities to promote resilient development. Recovery and reconstruction are not just about getting back to business as usual; simply rebuilding will only replicate the conditions which make communities vulnerable to disasters in the first place.
Indeed, recovery and reconstruction mean building back better. Whenever we look at any sector, be it agriculture, water, transport, telecommunications or health, we need to ensure that we do not re-create risks, and include measures to reduce exposure to future hazards.
There is a lot of practical knowledge in this room. I would like to encourage all participants to have an open discussion about the adaptability of the tools in our home context. Also, recognizing the value of mutual support in the time of need, we would like to reflect on how we can further sustain, grow and share capacities for conducting such assessments and post-disaster planning activities in the region.
To conclude, I would like to extend our thanks to the European Union, World Bank and Pacific Community for their commitment to national capacity development for resilient recovery and planning, exemplified by their co-funding of this important training program with UNDP.
I wish you all a productive week ahead.