The Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Company (PCRIC), in collaboration with the Centre for Disaster Protection (CDP), World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), University of the South Pacific (USP), and Risk-informed Early Action Partnership (REAP), proudly hosted the inaugural Pacific Region Disaster Risk Finance Workshop from February 6th to 8th.
The event took place at the USP’s Faculty of Business and Economics Postgraduate lecture theatre in Suva, Fiji. The three-day hybrid workshop aimed to raise awareness about financial protection against disasters, establish networks with Disaster Risk Finance (DRF) practitioners, and strengthen understanding of DRF in the Pacific.
In his opening remarks, the PCRIC CEO, Mr. Aholotu Palu highlighted that, “Our resolve remains unwavering, to be the architects of our future, ensuring that the narrative of the Pacific is one of strength, resilience, and enduring prosperity. Our commitment extends beyond immediate financial solutions; it covers the nurturing of minds and the empowerment of communities.”
The workshop brought together stakeholders from various DRF sectors including Finance Ministries and National Disaster Management Offices of Pacific Island Countries to discuss strategies for enhancing resilience and preparedness.
Keynote speakers at the event included prominent figures such as Hon. Sakiasi Ditoka, the Minister for Rural and Maritime Development for the Government of Fiji; Mr. Henry Puna, the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat; and Professor Pal Ahluwalia, the President and Vice-Chancellor of the USP.
Participants had the opportunity to engage in discussions, networking sessions, and presentations focused on addressing challenges related to disasters and climate change in the Pacific region.
By the end, participants left the workshop with an in-depth understanding of the availability, accessibility and affordability of DRF resources which goes a long way towards creating valuable dialogue and proactive movement in their respective home countries.
Mr. Palu noted that, “There was a wealth of information shared during the workshop, underscoring the enduring challenge of climate change. It’s clear that this is just the beginning of a continuous effort. As climate change becomes increasingly entrenched, both government bodies and individuals must prioritize financial preparedness, among other measures, to navigate the aftermath of disasters.”
The workshop served as a platform for participants to familiarize themselves with available DRF instruments, empowering them to return to their respective nations equipped to advocate for access to these critical resources and champion disaster resilience initiatives at the political level,” he added.
The event received generous support from donors and stakeholders, whose contributions either in the form of financial or technical support, were instrumental in its success. This collaborative effort demonstrated throughout the event underscored the commitment of all involved parties to enhancing disaster resilience and financial preparedness in the Pacific region.
Highlighting this key element in achieving common goals, Mr. Palu concluded that, “If you want to walk fast, then you go alone or go solo. If you want to go far, then we go together. We want to make sure that the momentum that we are establishing here will continue. This is not a one-off event. We are thinking of continuing this in the future. At the end of the day, we’re not a commercial entity. We’re a political institution that was politically established.”