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Pacific and Papua New Guinea Appeal No. MAA55001 Report 2006-2007

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published

Attachments

This report covers the period of 01/01/2006 to 31/12/2006 of a two-year planning and appeal process.

In a world of global challenges, continued poverty, inequity, and increasing vulnerability to disasters and disease, the International Federation with its global network, works to accomplish its Global Agenda, partnering with local community and civil society to prevent and alleviate human suffering from disasters, diseases and public health emergencies.

In brief

Programme Summary:

In the overall development of the Pacific national societies, 2006 saw staff, volunteers and communities enhance their skills in first aid and disaster preparedness in a region where natural disasters are prevalent and civil unrest has increased. A regional HIV awareness framework is being set up, and would provide a mechanism to reduce intolerance and discrimination among vulnerable communities, especially in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Efforts continue to integrate disaster risk reduction into the traditional fields of disaster response and preparedness. In the meantime, a gradual filtering down of the Seven Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement through organizational development work encourages national societies and their communities to embrace these principles.

Table: Financial analysis Pacific Appeal (MAA55001) 2006-2007

Health

and care

Disaster

management

Organizational

development

Coordination &

implementation

Overall
Expenditure against

budget for 2006 only

55% 66% 76% 53% 67%
Funding coverage against

2006 budget only

69% 108% 104% 150% 99%
Funding coverage against

2006 - 2007 budget

34% 50% 50% 62% 47%

Needs: Total 2006-2007 budget CHF 6.5 million (USD 5.3 million or EUR 4 million), out of which 47 percent is covered.

Our Partners: More than 27 international and national partners. Please refer to the Working in Partnership section.

Current context

Pacific island countries faced a volatile year in 2006, marked by internal unrest and a degree of tension in external relations. At the community level, islanders were open in expressing their dissent over the quality of much of their political leadership. This was evident in at least five Pacific island countries. States of emergency were declared in Fiji, the Southern Highlands province of Papua New Guinea and Tonga as military coups, law and order, governance problems and pro-democracy riots took hold of the countries. The outlook in Fiji following the December 2006 coup is still uncertain, with the interim military government pledging to clean up governmental institutions before allowing elections. This is despite contention from several regional partners. In the Solomon Islands, civil unrest flared up in Honiara following the March 2006 elections. The unrest spiralled out of control, forcing neighbouring countries like Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea to intervene with civil defence forces.

Indeed, poverty, social instability and poor governance have been enduring characteristics of the region's political landscape for many years. Other common features aggravate many countries in the Pacific. Their small size, poor economic diversity, lack of natural resources, isolation from major trade routes and commercial industries often leaves them vulnerable to external shocks, extreme weather, disasters and unstable economic forces.

As a result, many countries in the Pacific rely on good relationships and aid from former colonial powers and other donors. Such aid can come with requirements for political/economic reform. In 2006, tension was evident between some smaller island countries and major powers in the region, such as Australia and to a lesser degree, New Zealand. Over the year, these tensions materialized in the form of sanction threats against Fiji following the coup, troubled relationships between PNG and Australia, and Solomon Island's dispute over the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) (1).

In terms of natural disasters, the Pacific faced a lacklustre cyclone season, droughts in Australia and northern Pacific as well as flooding in some nations. Papua New Guinea was the most disaster-prone country in the region, enduring a series of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and floods in different areas.

Meanwhile Pacific island countries on the whole are reportedly regressing on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) for:

- HIV prevalence,

- ratio of girls to boys in primary education,

- access of urban populations to an improved water source; and,

- access of urban and rural populations to improved sanitation (2).

It is projected that Pacific islands in general will also miss their 2015 MDG targets for under-five and infant mortality rates as well as rural access to an improved water source. Nevertheless, it has to be acknowledged that big variances exist between Pacific countries, with Papua New Guinea (PNG) delivering the weakest performance.

Red Cross societies in the 12 Pacific states covered by the appeal reflect the conditions of their country, with most having a low population base and minimal economic development. The structure of these societies tends to be very small with one or two staff members, and often face difficulties in retaining skilled staff. Although volunteers are readily available in response to a disaster, they are otherwise often absent, making the maintenance of a skill base within the volunteer community a taxing task. Staff turnover in 2006 impaired institutional memory in the regional delegation and challenged the delivery of programmes. Over the year, the positions of head of regional delegation as well as health, disaster management and organizational development were vacant for a period of time. In the case of the former three, these vacancies stretched for as long as six months. In addition, the head of delegation position in Papua New Guinea remained vacant for most of the year, compelling the incountry disaster management delegate to take on the role, diverting attention away from his core functions.

Notes

(1) The RAMSI is a partnership between the people and Government of Solomon Islands and fifteen contributing countries of the Pacific region.

(2) the Millennium Development Goals: Progress in Asia and the Pacific 2006 report

For further information please contact:

Pacific regional delegation in Fiji: Frank Kennedy, Head of Regional Delegation, email: frank.kennedy@ifrc.org, Telephone: +679 3311855, Fax: +679 3311406.

Secretariat in Geneva: Jae Ryul Kim, Asia Pacific Department, email: jr.kim@ifrc.org ,Telephone: +41 22 730 4260

To support or find out more about the Federation's programmes or operations, click on www.ifrc.org