8 Jul 2013

Fiji meeting on disasters and climate change begins today

5:35 am on 8 July 2013

The first ever joint meeting on disaster risks and climate change will open in Fiji today.

The climate change roundtable and the Pacific platform for disaster risk management will bring together experts and consultants from the region's biggest NGOs as well as a UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Margareta Wahlstrom.

Alex Perrottet is in Nadi and filed this report.

"What the regional groups will learn here in Fiji is that the small countries in particular are leading the way in combining their resources. 13 Pacific nations have streamlined departments dedicated to dealing with disasters. The Nadi flood plan will be one area of focus, with officials here being reminded of the four deaths and 17,000 people in emergency shelters last year. But Fiji also has much to share - its preparation for Cyclone Evan in December meant there was no loss of life, and fire safety officials say education programmes have halved house fires in the last three years. Talks will also focus on water and food security in the aftermath of these events, such as this year's drought in the Marshall Islands."