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USP academic to be part of UNISDR STAG

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Dr Helene Jacot des Combes has been chosen to be part of the Science and Technology Advisory Group (STAG) at the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

A senior lecturer at The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCE-SD) has been selected to be part of the Science and Technology Advisory Group (STAG) at the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) from 2017-2018.

Dr Helene Jacot des Combes, who is teaching the Disaster Risk Management course, is excited to be part of an international expert group.

The principal goal of STAG is to provide scientific and technical expertise for the implementation of the Sendai Framework.

The Sendai Framework is a 15-year voluntary, non-binding agreement which recognises that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk with the aim of substantially reducing disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries.

According to Dr Helene, the offer was a timely one as they are currently in the process of establishing a Pacific STAG, and USP is involved in this.

“Becoming a member of the UNISDR STAG will hopefully put me in a position to support the Pacific STAG even more. I look forward to it and will do my best to be an active member of this group,” Dr Combes said.

One of the deliverables of the UNISDR STAG is a report where case studies present disaster risk reduction projects.  This, Dr Combes said is a very good opportunity to advertise what is done in the region and to show success stories from the Pacific.

She added that the Pacific region has a great experience to share with the rest of the world and this is a good channel to do it.

As for USP, Dr Combes’ involvement with the UNISDR STAG will increase the University’s visibility in the Disaster Risk Reduction academic community. It will also provide a good opportunity to identify international colleagues to become student’s co-supervisor or examiners.

Dr Combes attended the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, in March 2015.

Organised by UNISDR, the Conference saw the approval of the new Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 by participating countries.

“It was a very good experience and an opportunity to network with other colleagues. It was the beginning of my interest to try and join the UNISDR STAG,” she said.

Dr Combes is also involved in the European Union Pacific Technical Vocational Education and Training (EU PacTVET) project, which aims to develop TVET qualifications on Resilience (climate change and disaster risk management) and sustainable energy in fifteen (15) countries in the Pacific.

Some of these qualifications are currently undergoing the process to be offered at USP through Pacific Technical and Further Education (Pacific TAFE).

“I really hope that by becoming a member of the UNISDR STAG I will be able to provide more support to the students interested in this topic and reinforce the strength of USP in this area,” Dr Combes said.

Besides disaster risk management, her teaching interests cover the different aspects of ocean response to climate change, from paleo-climate reconstructions to future climate projections by coupled models. Marine ecosystems responses to climate change are also included in Dr Combes’ interests.

This news item was published on 3 Apr 2017 04:49:08 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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