Monday, September 17, 2012

Reducing disaster risk in the Pacific

UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction: The 4th Session of the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management opened today with a strong call for Pacific Island Countries and Territories, and donors to address the challenges of climate change in a smarter way.

Dr. Jimmie Rodgers, Secretary General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), said: "There are many of you here who represent the core leadership group for disaster risk management in our region and you have done a sterling job. For the future however I think you need to embrace more meaningfully the contribution of the various sectors and interest groups and work with them to bring about change and improvements.

"The collaboration with the Water and Sanitation sector at this year's meeting is a shining example but I think more can be done. We need to adopt a 'many partners-one team' approach and focus on improved coordination to address important cross-cutting challenges such as disaster reduction, climate change, food and water security. We must embrace strong engagement with civil society and the private sector."

The theme for this year's Pacific Platform is "Disaster Risk Management, Water Security and Climate Change -- Integrating our efforts for a more resilient Pacific." One anticipated outcome is a new regional action plan for water and sanitation in the Pacific. A road map to integrated disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation beyond 2015 is also foreseen.

In a video greeting to delegates its head, Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, said the meeting is a "strong sign that the region is alive to the challenges and working hard to come up with solutions which will preserve your communities and build their ability to adapt in smart, innovative ways....

Joseph Heard's mid-19th century painting of the barque Sir Henry Pottinger during a cyclone in the Indian Ocean on 14 January 1848

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