Green disaster training a first for participants
According to WWF-Pacific's Disaster Risk Reduction climate change project officer, Sanivalati Tubuna, the training improved the capacity of WWF-Pacific’s Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) project.
“With the magnitude of natural disasters predicted to occur more frequently and severely, there is a need for wider collaboration by all stakeholders. This is to ensure that we stakeholders are comprehensive in the way we approach disaster response, recovery and reconstruction.”
“The GRRT training was not only on building back better and safer, but the need for stakeholders in disaster management to have environmental considerations in our designs in the face of recovery. This was an area that was missed out during our TC Winston recovery efforts in strengthening community resiliency and reducing vulnerability,” highlighted Tubuna.
The GRRT training was facilitated by WWF-US Environment and Disaster Management Senior Director, Anita van Breda.
“We have people with experience in environment and people with experience in disaster and people who have experience in climate change adaptation. So this workshop is a great opportunity to bring these people together who are working on these issues to think about how we can work together to improve the disaster recovery for the impacted communities to use our natural assets and our understanding about climate change to the link of hazard and risk in order to reduce risk for future events.”
“When we started Day 1, everyone had said they had no experience with environmental impact assessments but by the end of the Day 2 they all had experience and they did one and so I think people will walk away feeling like I can do an EIA; where there are resources and help needed.”
“So the exercises and the training gave people comfort on what are the basic steps to an assessment and how they can do that with their partners, with the communities they are working with and the projects that they are working on,” said WWF-US Environment and Disaster Management Senior Director, Anita van Breda.
The GRRT training was attended by WWF-Pacific Fiji staff and various stakeholders that included the Commissioner Northern Division, Jovesa Vocea.
“I understand a lot of organizations are new to this workshop in terms of disasters. So all this information will assist the various organizations in building their knowledge to assist their communities they work with in,” said Sagaitu Josaia, Fiji Red Cross Disaster Management Officer.
“With regards to the environment and persons living with disabilities, we are talking on a wide range of different impairments and the importance of accessibility and the need to also consider the physical environment in terms of ensure accessibility,” highlighted Lanieta Tuimabu, Fiji Disabled Peoples Federation’s Office Manager.
A key component of the training was for stakeholders to carry out Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and the inclusion of natural resources in planning and programming processes.
“I think this is fantastic Fiji is doing this. With the leadership Fiji is showing in the 23rd Conference of Parties, in Bonn, Germany, the workshop is another example Fiji demonstrating leadership including green practices and disaster management.”
“With climate change, hazards and risks, we will always have to learn. We have to embed learning into the process because we will always have to strive to improve practices as we get more information and see how the world is changing. Not just in climate change which is important but how development takes place, where urban areas are.”
“All of that impacts our ability to reduce risks and vulnerability for the future. So I really appreciate it that Fiji is interested in this issue and is working on it and I look forward to seeing how it can be implemented here so that I can learn and my colleagues can learn and that we can apply that elsewhere,” added Anita van Breda.
WWF-Pacific’s ‘Building the Resilience of the Pacific through Disaster Preparedness’ project is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) and aims at building resilience to disasters and minimizing impact, vulnerabilities and dependencies afterwards, allowing communities to recover quicker and stronger with each disaster.