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Interview: "Even small disasters can overwhelm small-island economies"

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Ms. Osnat Lubrani is the United Nations Resident Coordinator of the UN multi-country office in Fiji. The office covers 10 Pacific Island countries: Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Ms. Lubrani is also the Co-chair of the Pacific Humanitarian Team, a regional disaster response partnership comprising UN agencies, regional and bilateral organizations, the Red Cross, national and international NGOs, faith-based and community organizations, and donors.

Before arriving in Suva in October 2013, Ms. Lubrani was the UN Development Coordinator and the UN Development Programme’s Resident Representative in Kosovo.

Q. What have been your impressions of the Pacific Islands since your arrival in late 2013?

A. It has been a dramatic change coming from the UN office in Kosovo—a landlocked country in a post-conflict setting—to a regional office covering 10 small-island states in an area four times the size of the United States. Each island country is so fragile and vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and the frequency of natural disasters means response and recovery needs to be incorporated into everyday development work. That, for me, has been the most striking impression of the Pacific.

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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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