Suva, Fiji – The Pacific Region Disaster Risk Finance Workshop convened by the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Company (PCRIC) aims to forge a more palpable and united alliance to fortify regional communities against the turbulence of nature and the uncertainties of a changing climate and natural disasters.
Currently underway at The University of the South Pacific (USP) Laucala Campus in Suva, Fiji, this workshop provides an opportunity for the gathering of Pacific minds to strengthen resolve in addressing climate-related issues.
The three-day workshop that started on Tuesday creates awareness of the importance of financial protection against disasters and contributes towards strengthening the understanding of Disaster Risk Financing at national and regional levels.
Speaking at the workshop’s opening yesterday, Fiji’s Minister for Rural and Maritime Development & Disaster Management, Honourable Sakiasi Ditoka, expressed his excitement to see the alliance between international and regional agencies in organising “this very timely and much-needed regional workshop.”
Hon. Ditoka stressed, “Natural disasters pose an existential threat to Pacific Island countries; hence, adaptability and resilience are needed to deal with this front-and-centre issue.”
The workshop organisers, PCRIC and USP, hope this exercise will bring relevant stakeholders in the DRF space to showcase their services, strengthen their understanding of the entry point they are addressing within the DRF space and determine practical steps for the way forward.
The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), as a partner, played a pivotal role in coordinating the Disaster Risk Finance Technical Working Group under the Pacific Resilience Partnership.
PIF Secretary General Henry Puna said, “Participants would be able to deepen their understanding of DRF, forge and reinforce networks among DRF practitioners, and integrate clear Risk Finance into our Public Finance Management systems to improve efficiency, effective coordination, and synergy building.”
He said the Pacific must continue to research and develop evolving modalities that account for the ever-changing nature of disaster risk.
While acknowledging the contribution of donors, Puna said, “Your unwavering support and collaboration and partnership are the keystones of our collective resilience”.
As co-host of the three-day workshop, the university welcomes the chance to facilitate discussions and meaningful participation of all Pacific peoples, particularly women and girls, in all their diversity, in climate change action, including access to climate finance, disaster risk management, the protection of persons affected by climate change-related sea-level rise, climate security and the sustainable management and use of oceans and river resources for development.
USP Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Pal Ahluwalia reiterated that the institution’s partnership with PCRIC began nearly four years ago with the initiation of a student internship programme “that provided some of our brightest minds with their first in-depth exposure to Disaster Risk Financing and the crucial work of PCRIC”.
He added, “This programme served as a gateway to more advanced collaboration and led to a transformative milestone with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding last year.”
In his concluding remark, Professor Ahluwalia encouraged participants to “seize this opportunity to mould a future that not only withstands adversity but thrives amidst it.”
The university stands ready to continue providing technical expertise and research support to help gather valuable data that could inform the region in formulating more effective and efficient mechanisms for responding to Disaster Risk Finance.
Some of the critical topics for the workshop include Disaster Risk Management in the Pacific, Disaster -resilient and responsive Public Financial Management, and Developing Country Based DRF Strategies and Workplans among others.
The three-day workshop continues today at the USP Laucala Campus in Suva, Fiji.