Excellencies, Ladies and Gentleman, Bula Vinakaand warm greetings from Fiji.
The Global Platform for DRR provides an excellent opportunity for countries to share experiences and the challenges we face in the implementation of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).The International community is looking at the way we do things as a family of nations, moving away from business as usual, and is calling for transformational changes. Therefore, we acknowledge the theme for this year: From Risk to Resilience: Towards Sustainable Development for All in a COVID-19 Transformed World.
In 2019, Fiji achieved a milestone in its commitment towards Target E of the Sendai Framework1, where the NationalDisaster Risk Reduction Policy (NDRRP) was launched by our Honourable Prime Minister.The NDRRP is the first step towards localising the Sendai framework into Fiji’s context and mainstream DRR across all sectors.
Furthermore, the Fijian Government has adopted a risk informed development approach to mainstreamDRR and Climate Change Adaptation into subnational level policies, agency plans and project funding. This approach ensures that disaster and climate change risk measures are integrated into the project management cycles with upgraded standard operating procedures and new project proposal templates.
The Fijian Government has also invested in build-back-better approaches.Following Tropical Cyclone Winston, thirty two (32) schools were rebuilt to more resilient standards. These schools were again in the path of another Category 5 super-storm, Cyclone Yasa in 2020and required only limited repairs and were functioning within weeks. This is the same with essential infrastructure such as roads and health centres that were built after 2016.Ladies and Gentlemen, the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2022 emphasizes that the best defence against future shocks is to transform systems now, to build resilience by addressing climate change and to reduce the vulnerability, exposure and inequality that drive disasters.
Fiji has taken steps to minimize the impact of climate change, where it has committed to the 100% sustainable management of our oceans by 20302, and the protection of its existing maritime boundaries irrespective of the changes to coastlines due to sea level rise as mandated in the Fiji Climate Change Act 20213.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Fiji’s progress in DRR could only be possible through meaningful partnerships with line ministries, local, regional and international partners.Over the years we have established good networks through various regional mechanisms. For instance, the Pacific Humanitarian Pathway for COVID Regional Taskforce (PHP-C RTF) that is established under the Pacific IslandsForum.
The taskforce has been supporting member countries through flight and cargo arrangements for delivery of humanitarian supplies during the pandemic.
At the National Level, Fiji utilizes the Cluster system to coordinate and collaborate with all key stakeholders involved inDRR. It is a Government-led humanitarian and DRR coordination mechanism that currently operates at the national strategic level.This has substantially improved our communication and coordination between government and non-government partners, especially during disaster operations.Ladies and Gentlemen, the annual economic losses due to disasters in the Pacific Small Island Development States (SIDS) are more than double the previous estimates, at US$1billion or nearly 5 per cent of the combined GDP for the Pacific SIDS4.
Having said that, disaster risk financing is critical in building resilience especially for Pacific SIDS. We cannot do this alone and we acknowledge the support of our development partners that have assisted us and continue to support our efforts to address disaster risks and the challenges of climate change. However much more remains to be done, including the need to make DRR financing facilities more accessible and flexible.
To conclude,I would like to echo the same call for action as highlighted in the latest IPCC Report that the opportunity for action is NOW, and any further delay in concerted global action is a direct threat to our planet and our future livelihood.
Fiji is looking forward to continue these conversations with the DRR community at the Global Platform for DRR in Bali.
Terima kasih, Vinaka Vakalevu and Thank You