Pacific Humanitarian team meets ahead of cyclone season

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 21 Oct 2013

Suva, 22 October 2013 – Over 100 participants from humanitarian response organizations across the Pacific Islands have come together at the 6th Annual Pacific Humanitarian Team Regional Workshop in Suva, Fiji.

“As we head into the cyclone season, the PHT stands ready to support Pacific Island governments in times of disaster,” said Osnat Lubrani, UN Resident Coordinator in Fiji. “Each year, this workshop brings together PHT members to build upon and consolidate lessons learned from recent disaster responses and preparedness activities in the region.”

In the past 12 months, the PHT has responded to a number of emergencies, including Tropical Cyclone Evan in Samoa and Fiji, Tropical Cyclone Freda and the Temotu tsunami in the Solomon Islands, and the Marshall Islands drought.

“The PHT was set-up to ensure that responders work together to deliver timely and appropriate humanitarian assistance to Pacific Island governments,” said Sune Gudnitz, Head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Regional Office for the Pacific. “At the workshop, members share best practice to find better ways to coordinate humanitarian responses in the Pacific.”

PHT members come from UN agencies, national and regional organizations, NGOs, civil-society groups and donors. A key focus of the workshop will be collectively developing the PHT’s position statement to further define PHT coordination arrangements and to clarify how members can support national authorities for improved humanitarian action in the region.

The workshop will feature a climate update for the coming cyclone season and a discussion on changes to early warning systems in the Pacific. It will also include a session on new technology and how it is changing humanitarian assistance and an NGO roundtable to hear about key disaster preparedness and recovery programmes in the region.

The workshop will conclude on Friday 25 October with a dedicated consultation session on the roadmap towards an Integrated Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change in the Pacific by 2015.

#

Photos from the workshop are available for download at: http://goo.gl/HqGSV4

Background: The Pacific Humanitarian Team (PHT) was established by UNOCHA in 2008 to ensure a coordinated international humanitarian response that is effective, predictable, accountable, and achieved through national and regional partnership. It is a collaborative partnership between all major humanitarian actors in the Pacific Island region and operates under the co-leadership of the UN Resident Coordinators in the Pacific, based in Fiji and Samoa.

For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Elisabeth McLeod, Public Information Officer, mcleode@un.org, Mobile: +679 999 1423
OCHA press releases are available at www.phtpacific.org or www.reliefweb.int

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.