22 Oct 2012

Disaster risk management programme launched in Pacific

6:09 am on 22 October 2012

Overcoming weak governance and a lack of preparedness will be the focus of a new programme to help countries cope with disaster in the Pacific.

The Pacific Risk Resilience Programme is being supported by AusAID and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme for an initial four year period in Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tonga, and Vanuatu.

The UNDP's Moortaza Jiwanji says data shows those four countries tend to experience some of the highest economic and social losses following a natural disaster because of their vulnerability.

He says weak governance is one of the most important risk factors that determines the impact of natural hazards.

"We can't do anything about the hazards themselves, they're an inevitability but when it becomes a disaster, is when people's coping mechanisms and the governance systems to support them cannot cope with the impact of those hazards and that's where we feel we can actually do something about that."

Moortaza Jiwanji says the programme will support disaster risk management planning and budgeting at all levels of government.