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Looking South: Pacific and Caribbean SIDS share experiences

Looking South Across the Oceans: Pacific and Caribbean SIDS share experiences

[December 7, 2010 – Montego Bay, Jamaica] A film demonstrating South-South co-operation in action between the Caribbean and the Pacific was showcased at a signature Caribbean disaster risk management conference yesterday.

“Looking South Across the Oceans: Promoting Cooperation Among Small Island Developing States” was featured at a film festival at the 5th Annual Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management, currently underway at Montego Bay in Jamaica. The keynote speaker at the conference, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Hon. Bruce Golding, MP emphasized the vulnerability of small island developing states (SIDS) to disasters and the impact of climate change.

The film focuses on the vulnerability faced by island nations and tells the story of how SIDS in the Pacific and Caribbean have embarked on a journey to share knowledge and experiences to strengthen the resilience of their communities to natural disasters and climate change. It highlights that many adaptable solutions to the challenges posed by natural disasters can be found by looking South.

“Looking South Across the Oceans” showcased at the film festival in Jamaica

The film focuses on the project “South-South Cooperation between Pacific and Caribbean Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management” which encourages a systematic sharing of knowledge and experiences to strengthen community safety and resilience to a range of natural disasters in both regions

The project is coordinated by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Centre, with extensive support from the regional UNDP programme Caribbean Risk Management Initiative (CRMI). Partners in the Caribbean include Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), INSMET (National Cuban Meteorological Institute), CARICOM Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and University of the West Indies (UWI). Key partners from the Pacific region include the Pacific Islands Applied Geo-Science Commission (SOPAC), South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP), Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and University of the South Pacific (USP). National agencies in both regions also play an important role.

The project is supported by the UNDP’s Special Unit for South-South Cooperation and by the UNDP-Japan Partnership Fund.

The film was viewed by more than 60 people at the film festival and received much positive feedback Those who viewed the film included Caribbean national and regional disaster risk managers, representatives of UN agencies, development partners and the academia.

References to the advantages of South-South co-operation, as showcased in the film were also made during various presentations at the technical sessions of the conference today.

In-depth experiences from the Pacific in the areas of economic impact assessment of disasters were shared at the conference by SOPAC’s Manager Natural Resources Governance, Paula Holland, whose attendance at the conference has been supported by UNDP through the South South project.

SOPAC’s Paula Holland (middle) making a point

Ms Holland’s presentation focused on the economic impact assessment of the January 2009 floods in Fiji, carried out by SOPAC in partnership with the Government of Fiji, Red Cross and UNDP. Her presentation sparked a lively discussion on the methods used in the assessment as well as early warning systems.

The Pacific will feature again tomorrow’s during a partner consultation on the South South project.

ENDS

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