Niue already implementing integrated approach to addressing DRR and Climate Change


Tue 21 May 2013

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GENEVA, Switzerland --- Niue, like other Pacific Island Countries, is already implementing an integrated approach to addressing disaster risk management and climate change.

And, the island nation’s chief adviser to cabinet, Richard Hipa shared this experience with parliamentarians from all over the globe, at a side event to discuss the topic, ‘Legislation and Governance for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), here in Geneva.

“When we deal with all scenarios, we are dealing with people. For the government, we have a five-year National Strategic Plan. Everything that we do, we align ourselves with the plan.

“Whatever the government plans on MDGs is also applicable to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Without the planning and commitment, not just the government but other stakeholders as well, including the people and their communities, the process will fail.

“In our national disaster plan, we engaged widely with the communities on the island to involve them in the preparation of plans for villages, communities and even government departments. We convene a workshop for all the councils and review their roles and responsibilities. Every year we run a campaign from Oct to April, our cyclone season.

Hipa said while plans are in place, we must ensure they are practical and achievable.

The other priority project is investment in Niue’s public infrastructure.

“We have a project right now where we are laying all our electrical cables underground to eliminate all overhead cable. At the same time, we are improving internet connections for all households. We are rolling this out for every village and every household by next year.

This initiative will allow Niueans access to timely and accurate information, especially in time of disaster.

Another pro-active initiative undertaken by the government and sponsored by AusAID is the relocation of Niue Primary School to higher grounds because of the threat posed by tsunami to low lying coastal areas. The primary school is located near the sea.

‘Based on the threat after cyclone Heta in 2004 and the tsunami near Tonga, we ensured that every home in Niue has access to water, power and communications. As a result, we are shifting one of our primary school, Niue Primary School. We are building a new primary school with funding from AusAID.

Hipa reminded development partners and donors to support national priorities set by governments.

“If donor wants to come to Niue, they should work with our national priorities. All DRR and Climate Change programme should be driven by our national priorities and not necessarily what they want.”

“Our people are resilient. By that I mean that our people’s local traditional knowledge, with regards to survival is still strong in some parts of Melanesia.

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