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South-South Cooperation initiative

South-South Cooperation initiative to help countries prepare for climate-related disasters

4 September 2017

Suva, Fiji – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from the Government of India, through the newly established India-UN Development Partnership Fund, have launched the Climate Early Warning Systems in Pacific Island Countries Project. The project aims to enhance the adaptive ability of the Governments of the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and the Kingdom Tonga.

The Pacific Island Countries are exposed to extreme weather events such as tropical storms/cyclones, droughts, floods, and heat waves. Since 1950, extreme events have affected 9.2 million people in the region, causing 9,811 fatalities. The Hydro-meteorological Disasters in the Pacific report by the Pacific Community’s Geoscience Division, reported 615 disaster events in a thirty-year period (1983-2012), of which 75% were hydro-meteorological in nature, the most common being cyclones followed by floods.

In addressing this, the UNDP Human Development Report 2014 makes the case that “sustained enhancement of individual and societies’ capabilities is necessary to reduce persistent vulnerabilities whereby progress should be about fostering resilient human development, emphasizing on the role that institutions and structures can plan in enhancing people and communities’ ability to cope and adjust to adverse events.”

UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Country Director and Head of Regional Policy and Programme, Bakhodir Burkhanov said, “The project will contribute to making the Pacific Countries more resilient to the impacts of climate change and disasters, and strengthen the South-South Cooperation among the countries and between the Pacific and India.

“The project intends to support the provision of technical equipment and training of hydrologists and meteorologists to enhance their capacity to monitor climate early warning and disseminate quality climate information.

He added, “The stakeholder consultation process, which will take place at the beginning of the project, will be inclusive of marginalized and vulnerable groups such as women, youth and people with disabilities. Equal training opportunities for both men and women will be given to national meteorologist and hydrologist where appropriate.

The South-South Cooperation initiative will support the experience and knowledge exchange on disaster preparedness, response and recovery between the seven Pacific Island Governments, the India Institute of Technology Roorkee and the Central Training Institute (IMD) Pune-RTC India.

India’s High Commissioner to Fiji, H.E. Mr. Vishvas Sapkal said, “Today we are opening a new chapter and partnering with UNDP. This new project will definitely be helpful for communities in the Pacific Island countries.”

He added, “India has contributed USD1million to this project through the UN-India Development Partnership Fund which is managed by the UN South-South Cooperation Office. The main objective of this Fund is to implement country level projects that will help achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.”

The project was launched on Friday, 1st September 2017 at Novotel in Suva.

It is an initiative funded by the UN-India Development Partnership Fund and implemented by the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji with support from the Government of India. Partnerships include the Pacific Island Governments’ partner agencies – the National Meteorological Services and the Ministries of Information. Other partner agencies will include the Pacific Community (SPC) Hydrological Department, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, the Pacific Meteorology Council and the World Meteorological Council.

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