By Evan Wasuka, Editor of Pacific Media Team, 2013
|Cook Islanders at the Joint Meeting of the 2013 Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management and Pacific Climate Change Roundtable with Finance Minister Hon. Mark Brown.|
11 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - While the integration of disaster risk management (DRM) and climate change (CC) has been the key topic on agenda at the Joint talks in Nadi this week, one country that is already putting this into practice is the Cook Islands.
Both its Emergency Management service and its Climate Change Office are under the Office of the Prime Minister.
The Director of Cook Islands Emergency Management, Charles Carlson says the main benefit has been the maximising of limited resources to get maximum outcome.
“By having both under one division we work regularly together, we meet every couple of week so we know what is going on in climate change and they know what is happening in disaster.
“There is no duplication of services. We complement what they are doing.”
Carlson says he hopes that the Joint Meeting this week has removed any doubts about integrating CC and DRM.
“After hearing the presentations hopefully that message will get down to all DRM and CC practitioners about the importance of working together.”
As for the Cook Islands, Carlson says the way forward is to integrate climate change and disaster into other sectors.
“For example with infrastructure, we have to make sure that climate proofing is part of the building code and ensure when buildings are built it is climate proofed for the future. So we address resilience in the longterm.
“Or in the area of health, climate change has to be taken into account.
Carlson says the main issue in the Cook Islands is to get key stakeholders aware about CC and DRM, and to take this into account in their planning.
“Climate change is not just an environmental issue, it’s a development issue.”
Carlson says the Joint Meeting has been helpful in bringing together a wide range of sector to discuss integration.
“Ideally what each country should do is have their own national platform, to look at how climate change and disaster can be addressed in core sectors. CC and DRM then becomes everybody’s responsibility.”