News - Sep 25, 2022 Enhancing Resiliency of the Pacific Islands on Disaster Waste Management

After a colourful and captivating official opening ceremony of the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (APMCDRR), at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, conference delegates toured the marketplace, an interactive exhibition space setup that features close to 50 information and awareness booths of various organisations.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) exhibition booth, managed by the European Union-funded and SPREP-implemented Pacific Waste Management (PacWastePlus) Programme was a popular attraction.

The SPREP booth facilitated numerous meaningful interactions with delegates who were keen to learn more about the SPREP programmes being implemented in its Pacific Island member countries, many were intrigued to learn about the PacWastePlus programme’s regional disaster waste management project.

The interest from delegates was heightened after an official partner event delivered by PacWastePlus in partnership with the Tonga Department of Environment, the Vanuatu Department of Environment Protection and Conservation and the Japanese Technical Cooperation Project for Promotion of Regional Initiative on Solid Waste Management in Pacific Island Countries, Phase II (JPRISM II) project on the first day of the conference (Monday September 19 2022).

The partner event highlighted SPREP’s work and provided awareness to policymakers and disaster management officers on the importance of proper waste management and how, through planning and preparation, waste management can enhance the capacity of Pacific Island countries to prepare and appropriately respond to emergencies and disasters.

The integration of waste management into disaster risk reduction plans is vital as it allows for enhancing Pacific Island resilience and enables timely and effective response during emergencies and disasters. Participants were informed of the principal and concepts of disaster waste management and how effective waste management can contribute to disaster preparedness and response actions.

An overview was provided by the JPRISM II project on the regional disaster waste management guideline which provides guidance on applicable and appropriate disaster waste management measures considering the Pacific Island countries’ issues and challenges.

The regional guideline focuses on mainstreaming disaster waste into the National Disaster Management Planning process for improved national coordination of preparedness, response and recovery operations and improving the supporting institutional arrangements and resources for disaster waste management.

The event showcased the efforts of Vanuatu in mainstreaming disaster waste management into their national disaster management systems and highlighted SPREPs regional initiatives through the PacWastePlus programme in the Pacific islands.

Participants both in the room and online learnt that with the intensity and frequency of natural disasters such as tropical cyclones evidently increasing in the Pacific when these natural disasters occur large amounts of waste are generated from damage to both the natural and man-made environment.

PacWastePlus is assisting participating programme countries to mainstream disaster waste management into the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP) by implementing activities identified in the Regional Disaster Waste Management Guideline, including developing a template Terms of Reference for the establishment of an Environment Sector Working Group (Cluster) within National Disaster Management Framework to ensure timely and effective implementation of disaster waste management response and recovery.

The regional project will provide technical guidance documents and templates to assist countries to implement key waste management activities in each of the disaster management cycles, and the development of guiding notes on how to draft National and Community Disaster Waste Management Plans and establish a Disaster Waste Training Manual for use by each participating country at both the National and Community level. PacWastePlus will be working with a pilot country to trial all guidelines before finalisation.

Australia has partnered with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), to host the APMCDRR, from 19-22 September 2022. Convened by the United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), the APMCDRR is the main regional platform in Asia-Pacific for promoting coordination and cooperation on disaster risk reduction and the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The conference brings together the UN Member States, intergovernmental organisations, international and national organisations and stakeholder groups, to accelerate progress on disaster risk reduction.

One of the goals of the conference is to establish ways to reduce risks, save lives, and minimise economic loss. It marks the first regional disaster risk-reduction conference to include the full participation of Pacific Island countries and follows a commitment from Australia to participate in a biennial meeting of ministers in the Pacific region to ensure the safety, security and resilience of the Pacific.

As the Asia-Pacific is the most disaster-prone region in the world, the Ministerial Conference provides a key opportunity to enhance efforts to prevent new and reduce existing risks, and for countries and organisations to review progress against the Sendai Framework.

This is particularly relevant as the APMCDRR will occur during the Midterm Review of the Sendai Framework, thus providing countries with an opportunity to focus on areas where action must be accelerated.

The conference, involving more than 3000 delegates, continues until Thursday 22 September.


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