Fiji has achieved another milestone after Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama officially launched the country’s Disaster Risk Reduction Policy making it the first ever in the region.
While delivering his address, PM Bainimarama recalled his experience while visiting communities who were affected by the ferocity of Tropical Cyclone Winston in 2016.
“In the worst-affected areas, there wasn’t a tree left standing or a building left undestroyed. In total, that disaster claimed the lives of 44 of our people, levelled tens of thousands of homes and hundreds of schools, affecting over 500,000 Fijians” said Bainimarama.
The Prime Minister believes that climate-related disasters area national security threat for Fiji.
“Monday night, I returned from Madrid, Spain where I was representing Fiji at the 25th round of the UN climate change negotiations, COP25. Our mission in Madrid was to secure greater global commitments ahead of Paris Agreement’s implementation in 2020. While the science tells us the window of opportunity to save ourselves is fast-closing, the largest emitters have yet to summon the courage to act decisively on this issue. But there was one glimmer of hope at this COP.
After many intense rounds of negotiations, Fiji helped secure recognition of the oceans role in managing the climate, a critical first step to engraining ocean preservation into the larger climate action campaign” said Bainimarama.
Bainimarama said that Fiji will be driven by more than a moral imperative in pursuing this policy.
“By managing disaster risks, we’re protecting our progress across every front of development. We’re protecting the massive investments we’ve made in health, education and the extension of critical services. We’re protecting the businesses that are steadily growing across the country.
We’re protecting our roads, our bridges and other infrastructure. And we’re protecting lives, plain and simple” he said.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction document provides the policy and legal framework that supports how Fiji will fund, manage and integrate disaster risk management across every level of governance. It covers our preparedness before storms, to immediate emergency responses, to the nationwide effort to rebuild to cyclone-resilient standards.