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Solomon Islands: Risk is everyone’s business

Source(s):  Solomon Islands - government

Disaster risk reduction is a top priority for Solomon Islands, with a working group developing opportunities to help communities become more resilient.

The national Risk Resilient Development working group has been reactivated to
implement an action plan for how climate change and disaster risk management can be better incorporated into government, community and private sector activities. Until the April 2014 floods, the group had been meeting each month.

The Risk Resilient Development working group is being jointly led by the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination (MDPAC) and the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Management (MECDM).

“Since the floods, response activity and recovery planning took priority for MDPAC and MECDM, but having now entered longer-term recovery, it is a good opportunity to reinvigorate this working group,” said MDPAC Risk Resilient Development Officer Jack Filiomea.

“The idea the working group is trying to promote is that risk is everyone’s business.

“We aim to normalise risk, and incorporate it into all Solomon Islands development projects and processes.”

The working group contains core members from both MDPAC and MECDM, as well as the World Bank’s Community Resilience to Climate and Disaster Risk in Solomon Islands Programme (CRISP), and UNDP’s Pacific Risk Resilience Programme (PRRP). Members from other ministries will also be targeted to participate in planning and discussions.

“Risk needs to be considered by not just the government, but also private businesses and communities,” Mr Filiomea said.

“The working group, which has a view to become a formal committee, provides a dedicated forum for government staff, donors, and anyone else to discuss their work done in this area.”

Bridges, schools, clinics, hospitals, fisheries, footpaths and roads, water supplies, sea walls, office complexes, and crops are just a few examples of infrastructure and development subject to risk, according to Mr Filiomea.

“When considering risk, we are taking a holistic view of disaster, climate change and the environment … Risk-reduction measures could include moving a hospital away from a high-risk area, introducing flood tolerant crops, or cyclone-proofing a school,” he said.

Risk can go both ways as a project can cause risk or face risk, Mr Filiomea said.

“We aren’t just looking at risks a development project faces, for example a new school built by the coast might be at risk from rising sea levels or tsunamis.”

“We also want to make sure the project itself doesn’t pose a risk, for example when mangrove buffers are removed to make way for a tourism development, and the coastline becomes exposed and vulnerable,” he said.

To help decision-makers assess a project’s risk level, MDPAC is developing a Risk Resilient Development toolkit, with simple easy-to-follow questions and step-by-step directions that help development planners consider risks when designing projects.”

“This toolkit will also assist MDPAC in reviewing new projects for risk.”

For more information please contact Jack Filiomea, MDPAC Risk Resilient Development Officer. +677 7598 234.

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  • Publication date 05 May 2015

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