Recognising resilience innovation in the Pacific

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Beleagured papaya farmers in Fiji who were pushed to near bankruptcy in the aftermath of Cyclone Evan in 2012 have changed their agriculture practices to build a more resilient business sector. © UNISDR

SUVA, 24 April 2014 - To help mark the approaching 10th anniversary of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), the global strategy for reducing disaster losses worldwide, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Sub-Regional Office for the Pacific today launched the inaugural Pacific Innovation and Leadership Award for Resilience (PILAR), a pioneering initiative in the region.

The award recognises exemplary action taken by individuals, businesses, communities, governments and or non-governmental organisations across all the Pacific Island Countries and Territories, to build community and national resilience through disaster risk reduction measures.

Mr Timothy Wilcox, UNISDR’s Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Pacific, said: “This is the last Pacific Platform before a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction is endorsed next year by the global community in Japan. It is appropriate that we mark the contributions of so many activities with the launch of an award that recognises and promotes innovation, good-practice and leadership in these areas”.

Pacific Island Countries and Territories face extreme risk from naturally occurring hazards that are likely to intensify with the onset of climate change. Despite the inherent vulnerabilities that confront the Pacific, there have been many opportunities for innovation and ingenuity from all sectors of society to reduce disaster impact and to ensure long term sustainability of nations and communities.

The award covers a range of areas including awareness-raising, knowledge sharing, community engagement, policy interventions, and other resilience-building activities.

“Many communities and countries are already well versed in disaster preparedness and the Pacific has shown great leadership in reducing the effect of natural hazards. Some activities have included relocating villages to higher ground to avoid consistent flooding. Businesses are also investing in disaster risk reduction measures. The Pacific is progressing towards a sustainable future and we want to highlight this innovation at this year’s Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management,” said Mr Wilcox.

Special regard will be given to initiatives that are particularly innovative, have widespread impact and are the first of their kind.

Full application details and a submission form can be downloaded from the UNISDR Pacific website or requested from Meri Kelliher, Disaster Risk Reduction Information Management Adviser by email at:

Application forms should be submitted to the UNISDR Pacific Office by 15th May 2014.

The award will be presented at the forthcoming Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management in Suva, Fiji on 2 June 2014.