The Pacific Islands are highly vulnerable to natural disasters and the risks posed by climate change because of their size, isolation and their narrow economic bases. The Pacific Risk Resilience Program has been implemented by Live & Learn in partnership with United Nations Development Programme. It aimed to strengthen the resilience of island states in the face of potentially catastrophic events at all levels of society. This is achieved through:
- Supporting the mainstreaming of disaster risk management and climate change adaptation into development planning and budgeting at all levels of government.
- Strengthening community resilience through a targeted and inclusive community approach to disaster risk management, climate change adaptation and integration of risk management planning at the local level.
Since its inception in February 2014, significant achievements have been made in the target countries of Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. Following serious natural disasters in Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands affecting target communities, the importance of this project has become even more critical.
The goal of this project is to work with communities so they are more resilient to risks from climate
change and disasters. There are three end-of-programme outcomes:
- CCDRM considerations are integrated into coherent cross-sectoral development planning, budgeting and performance frameworks.
- Participating Countries integrate CCDRM considerations into sub-national and community needs assessment, planning, budgeting and performance frameworks.
- Internal and external stakeholders use quality, credible information generated by the Programme to inform their readiness for, adoption of, or commitment to, effective risk.
The Pacific Risk Resilience Program contributes to translating this theory into practice, in part through Risk Governance Building Blocks: (i) people / actors, (ii) mechanisms and (iii) processes and products. Examples of how to implement these building blocks at the national and subnational levels include focusing on leadership and change agents for risk; prioritising institutional arrangements for risk; and risk integrated processes (e.g. sector screening of community development plans).
An example of the importance of the project and its capacity to achieve real impact is shown in the Temotu community in the Solomon Islands. This community was affected by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami of 6 February 2013. Eight Knowledge Hubs (KHs) were established in the area which provided training on climate change impacts; food security; organic farming and agriculture. These communities have now designed and started implementing a Food Security Recovery Plan for tsunami-affected areas. Farming tools and seeds have been distributed in affected areas to assist with recovery efforts and farming demonstrations have allowed families to grow vegetables to improve their diet. Surplus vegetables are sold to earn an income.
While the Temotu project aids recovery on a practical level, the project also partnered with the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development to implement an Education in Emergency Policy. This involves working with 33 schools to develop School Disaster Management Plans. The implementation of the plans are monitored to ensure that strategies are in place to protect students in the event of a disaster.