European Union provides 20 million Euro to support the Pacific states in addressing the impacts of climate change and to improve resilience to natural disasters (05/09/2013)

At the occasion of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), European Union Commissioner for Climate Action Mrs Connie Hedegaard and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Director General Dr. Jimmie Rodgers and the Secretary General of the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, Mr Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, have signed the "ACP-EU Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific" programme. The European Union (EU) will provide 20 million Euro to support the Pacific states in addressing the impacts of climate change and the urgent need to improve resilience to natural disasters.

The high vulnerability of Pacific Island Countries to disaster is well known. This is further exacerbated by their often small land areas as well as their narrow, subsistence based fragile economies. Natural hazards undermine development and the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This Programme responds to these challenges and will strengthen the capacity of the Pacific states to address existing and emerging challenges with regard to the risks posed by natural hazards and related disasters, while maximising synergies between disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA).

"For the Pacific people, climate change is not about a distant future. It has become the new normal. This programme will help the Pacific states in their efforts to adapt to this new climate reality. The Pacific states can count on Europe to continue its climate cooperation in the region”, said European Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard.

“Pacific leaders have long shown their commitment to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) and, in particular to their populations, by adopting a 10 year Pacific Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management Framework for Action for the region (known commonly as the Regional Framework for Action or RFA 2005-2015). We have voiced our concerns to the international community about the need to link resilience to the achievement of regional and national sustainable development and poverty reduction goals in Pacific Islands region States. We are confident that this programme will improve the ability of our members to withstand, better cope and quickly recover from natural disasters that systematically divert us from our path towards a sustainable and resilient development”, said SPC Director-General, Dr Jimmie Rodgers.

“This Programme is the Pacific component of our cooperation with the European Union on Disaster Risk Reduction. This ground-breaking programme will bring a new impetus to the region in terms of the much-needed synergies between disaster risk reduction and climate change. We rely on the expertise provided by our partner in the region, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, as it will work closely with the ACP Pacific countries to ensure the sustainability of the results,” said H.E. Mr Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, Secretary General of the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States.                                                                                                                                               

The Programme, mostly focused on in-country actions, will further support community-based Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR); increase effective preparedness, response and recovery from natural disaster (e.g. through early warning systems, access to evacuation centres and safe drinking water); seek better integration of disaster risk management in national and sector strategies; continue mainstreaming DRR and Climate Change Adaptation national and regional levels through integrated strategies. The programme will also improve the collection and use of science-based information for better awareness and understanding of natural hazard, education and training.

The Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SOPAC Division of SPC), has collaborated with the EU in the identification and formulation of this programme and it will thus jointly manage it, building on its past successful experience with several other  European Union financed initiatives.

Background on the ACP-EU cooperation on disaster risk reduction (DRR)
The ACP-EU Cooperation Strategy (2008-2013), acknowledged the need for additional action to support ACP countries in reducing the risks related to natural disasters. In this regard, the ACP Committee of Ambassadors adopted a Framework for advancing the DRR agenda in ACP countries. Furthermore, and recognising the need to address the multiple, interlinked causes of poverty, fragility and vulnerability, the EU has adopted an Action Plan for Resilience, focusing, in particular, on peace and state building, climate change and disaster risk reduction, food security and social protection. The ACP-EU cooperation on DRR will directly contribute to this Action Plan with concrete actions aligning disaster risk management with the resilience agenda in Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific.

Background on the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)
The Pacific Community and its Secretariat, together generally referred to as "the SPC" was established in 1947 under the Canberra Agreement and today has 26 members including 22 island countries and territories together with four metropolitan countries (US, France, Australia and New Zealand).

SPC is the premier technical and scientific organisation supporting its island countries and territories. It delivers technical, scientific, research, policy and training support in public health, geoscience, agriculture, forestry, water resources, disaster risk management, fisheries, education (community, TVET, quality and standards for all school levels), statistics, transport, energy, ICT, media, human rights, gender, youth and culture.

SPC is the regional focal point for and has an on-going regional mandate to coordinate and deliver DRM services to its island country and territory members. SPC’s DRM work is guided by the Pacific Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management Framework for Action 2005–2015, which was approved by Pacific Leaders (Heads of Government) in their annual meeting in October 2005. This Pacific framework is the Pacific regional adaptation of the Hyogo Framework endorsed by world leaders at the 2nd World Conference on Disaster Reduction in January 2005.

 

You can download the press release by clicking here pdf - 531 KB [531 KB] .

Picture (from left to right): Mr Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni Secretary General of the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, Dr Jimmie Rodgers Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and Mrs Connie Hedegaard European Union Commissioner for Climate Action.