Thursday, 18 July 2013

Sheppard: Integration is not a threat - it's an opportunity

By Daniel Namosuaia, Solomon Star:

11 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - The Director General of the Secretariat of Regional Environment Programme, David Sheppard says integration is a great opportunity for the region to deal with the impacts of climate change and disasters.
In his closing remarks at the Joint Meeting of the 2013 Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management(PPDRM) and Pacific Climate Change Roundtable(PCCR), he said any strategy or process is only as good as the outcomes and the results it delivers for the countries and people of the Pacific.
Quoting British wartime prime minister, Winston Churchill, Sheppard said, “no matter how beautiful the strategy, it is always good to look at the results."
“Our focus must be sharply and clearly on supporting Pacific Island countries adapt and build resilience to climate change and natural disasters, as an essential contribution to sustainable development in our region,” Sheppard said
He highlighted four key points from the meeting;
1. There is no one size that fits all - any regional strategy must focus on enabling and supporting national action, and must also support and guide Governments to develop the systems and processes that will work best in their context, in their own unique circumstances.
2. Ownership is essential if any strategy is to work. Inclusion, real inclusion, of different groups is crucial for any integrated strategy.
3. Any integrated strategy should be underpinned by good governance .
4. The work in this region must inform international efforts on disaster risk reduction and climate.
Sheppard stressed that responses to climate change and natural disasters must involve a mix of responses, including those related to infrastructure and those related to ecosystem protection.
Adding that integrated strategy must reinforce the state of urgency facing the region regarding climate change, associated sea level rise and natural disasters.
He highlighted that good governance will ensure Pacific countries to better respond to a changing climate and to natural disasters.
Adding that national and regional efforts must support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure that funding commitments are met.
“Partnerships at all levels are essential and we have seen how partnerships, such as in the Choiseul Province, benefit Pacific countries and their people.”
He said while countries of the world argue about emissions reductions and particularly who is to blame, the countries of the Pacific are the first impacted and will be the first to go under.
“He encouraged the increasing level of partnership and joint work between CROP agencies to continue and accelerate since positive outcomes has been made.
“We must all reach out and better engage new partners, and avoid competition and duplication.
“Partnership are not the end in themselves we must focus on working together to deliver better results to support national priorities and meet local needs,” Sheppard added.
He said SPREP looks forward to working with Pacific countries and territories, other CROP agencies, donors and partners to support the development of the integrated strategy.

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