Deputy Secretary General Cristelle Pratts remarks to the Pacific Resilience Partnership Working Group

6 February 2017 - Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat 

Representatives of - Pacific Island Countries and Territories, development partners, non-government sector and private sector; colleagues of CROP organisations; Ladies and Gentleman,

On behalf of the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat – Dame Meg Taylor, I would like to welcome you all to the Forum, and particularly as this occasion relates to responding to a key priority issue on our Leaders agenda and is a direct tasking as a result of their most recent meeting on Pohnpei – last September.

If there is one key crucial message from the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (known by the increasingly familiar acronym – the FRDP) it is about the very urgent and real need to for the Pacific to build and strengthen its resilience (at all levels and scales) and in this regards the need to incorporate climate change and disaster risk management into the development discourse. Today’s meeting is an important part of that integration and while I know that it has been a long journey to get to this point - I know that from many national and regional champions of this work there remains a genuine enthusiasm and commitment to ensure that the real work of implementation of the FRDP is realised.

It may be prudent to share with you what the Leaders decided - As mentioned already - the FRDP was endorsed by Pacific Forum Leaders on the 11th of September last year - at their meeting in Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia.

The Leaders decision states that:

Leaders endorsed the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP) and agreed for it to be fully elaborated and operationalised upon the entry into force of the Paris Agreement and recognised its potential to support coordination and action on a number of key issues related to climate change and disaster risk management.

Both triggers were met when the Paris Agreement entered into force on the 4th of November 2016.

Leaders also agreed that the Pohnpei Statement: Strengthening Pacific Resilience to Climate Change and Disaster Risk, would complement the FRDP. Specific and relevant principles mentioned by Leaders include the explicit link between resilience and development; the importance of national processes; simplified funding; the need for coordinated action beyond government; the value of coordination and collaboration; and, the value of the CROP agencies. These are important concepts and should be considered and revisited by participants in the PRP WG.

And finally, Leaders decided that the Forum Secretariat be tasked to convene a Working Group to elaborate on the Pacific Resilience Partnership process, to implement the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific.


What is the FRDP?

While we speak of resilience and supporting sustainable development, there are some important points to understand about the FRDP.  The FRDP aims to guide and promote coordinated and integrated priorities and approaches forregional, national and community levels that embed risk considerations into sustainable development which ultimately lead to development outcomes that are resilient to climate change and disaster risks, and which addresses and alleviates poverty.

Therefore the overall key message to keep in mind is that the FRDP is not just about providing direction to the climate change and disaster communities of practice, projects, and programmes but rather presents holistic guidance for the development community of practice, projects and programmes as well.

The FRDP advocates for two types of integration:

  • Firstly integrated actions to address climate change and disasters, whenever possible. This guidance recognises the clear overlap between climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction where there are similar tools and resources required to monitor, analyse and address climate and disaster risks. Many PICTs have started taking concrete steps to manage these risks in a more integrated manner. An integrated approach can reduce duplication and optimise use of limited resources and sharing of technical expertise. Of course, the degree of integration will vary based on the needs and priorities of each PICT.
  • Secondly, the FRDP advocates for more effective mainstreaming of action to address climate change and disaster risks into development planning including policy making, planning, financing, programming and implementation which includes building resilience into governance structures and processes, partnerships, communications and financing. Climate change and disaster risks are cross-cutting thematic priorities and action must also take place at the sectoral level. It is essential to mainstream action to build resilience into development sectors such as health, education, water and sanitation, and agriculture.

The FRDP takes an all-stakeholder approach as building resilience is everyone’s business. It provides guidance of relevance to a broad range of stakeholders including national and subnational governments and administrations, civil society, communities, the private sector, regional organisations and development partners. The breadth of representation in this meeting is welcomed as it demonstrates this very point of the need for an inclusive, multi-stakeholder approach to implementing the FRDP.

The Framework is also closely aligned to implementing global agreements such as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change 2015, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015- 2030, the Small Islands Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (S.A.M.O.A) Pathway 2014, the Sustainable Development Agenda 2015- 2030 and the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 - to help build a more sustainable and safer region. More recently the development of the New Urban Agenda as the outcome of Habitat III again emphasises the importance of climate change and disaster risks.

Regards implementation - At the regional level, the FRDP outlines a new Pacific Resilience Partnership to steer high level regional coordination.

The PRP will translate the FRDP from policy to action on resilience. The PRP will bring together the variety of different stakeholder groups and communities of practice on climate change, disaster risk management and sustainable development, to: share experiences and lessons learned; harmonize approaches; and, collaborate more closely in order to work toward and achieve the shared, collective goal of building climate and disaster resilience in the Pacific

Our role in the coming days is to help discuss and explore the governance arrangements of the PRP. While the process will be challenging – it is of critical importance for: your regional organisations and for the climate change and DRM communities of practice to support integrated approaches to planning, budgeting and sectoral processes; and for other socio-economic sectors to integrate risk and resilience into their planning and budgeting; and for central agencies to embrace and coordinate these initiatives.

For the PRP to be effective, strong national management and buy-in is required beyond this meeting and the PRP. It needs to be followed through in key regional fora, including Ministerial meetings, CROP governing bodies, sub-groupings of Pacific states, the private sector and civil society. Therefore the key to governance of integrated resilient development is a changed mind-set in the various communities of practice at regional level.

Regards your CROP agencies - I am pleased to share with you that the CROP agencies who are attending this first meeting of the Pacific Resilience Partnership Working Group including – the Pacific Community (SPC), the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat (PIFS), the Secretariat of Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the Pacific Power Association (PPA) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) – support and agree with the importance and need for a collective approach and response to achieve resilient development in the region and member countries and territories - that is guided by the Framework of Resilient Development in the Pacific: An Integrated Approach to Address Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management (FRDP).

As recognised by Forum Leaders, we will continue to provide the necessary coordination and valuable policy advice, applied scientific and technical expertise, capacity supplementation and capacity building support for action on climate change and disaster risk management.

In conclusion, changing the regional development paradigm to ensure that Pacific islands leaders are determining and driving resilient and sustainable development requires a functional - as opposed to structural - change process. It calls for dynamic adjustments to improve regional ‘governance’ and new ways of working in a regional institutional context.  This involves a focus on addressing development issues by drawing together expertise across institutions, rather than the more conventional segmented approach, where institutional mandates drive the work. 

Today we start building resilience to climate change and disasters through the FRDP and this will depend on a strong enabling environment, including the availability of resources, the establishment of good governance arrangements, effective dialogue, good communication, and strong coordination and genuine, durable partnerships.


In closing I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the Government of Australia’s financial support for this meeting which enables us all to ensure that the Leaders decisions are progressed and implemented. 

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