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NADI – Humanitarian responders from six Pacific Island nations came together this week to improve how they prepare for and respond to natural disasters, fine-tuning their leadership and coordination skills. A two-and-a-half-day emergency simulation helped responders learn from each other and master the latest global best practices in emergency food security response.
The meeting of 25 representatives from governments, non-governmental organisations and the UN included delegates from six Pacific Island nations: Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. The training, which took place in Nada, Fiji, was jointly hosted by the two Food Security Cluster co-lead Coordinators: the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), in partnership with the Global Food Security Cluster (gFSC) in Rome, Italy and supported by RedR Australia.
The four-day event, which concludes today, was designed to improve the skills of regional and national Food Security Cluster coordinators with training provided on critical core emergency competencies, leadership and coordination skills - and to equip Pacific responders with the expertise required to guide their Clusters before, during, and after an emergency.
"Climate change is hitting the Pacific hard, and we know we need to prepare for more frequent and harsher disasters," said Head of WFP in the Pacific Anthony Freeman. "This training gives food security experts the chance to network and get up to speed on all the latest developments in the sector."
The interactive technical sessions provided participants with cutting-edge information on disaster preparedness and response, resilience building, cash based transfer (CBT), needs assessments and early recovery. The training also addressed the importance of cross-cutting issues such as gender protection mainstreaming and Accountability to Affected Populations.
According to FAO and WFP, the Pacific is one of the most vulnerable regions to natural hazards in the world - and climate-related disasters are magnifying this threat. Of the 20 states with the highest average disaster losses scaled by GDP, eight are Pacific Island countries. Average direct losses due to natural disasters in the South Pacific are estimated at US$284 million per year, according to WFP. In the medium to longer term, climate-related disasters are expected to increase in number and scale, especially in relation to El Niño/La Niña cycles. In line with its global mandate as the head of the humanitarian clusters for emergency logistics, telecommunications and as the co-lead for food security, WFP established a presence in the Pacific in late 2015 to assist regional governments with their emergency preparedness measures, and to enhance their capacity to assist people in need.
This support is coordinated through WFP's office in Fiji. The regional programme focuses on assisting five priority Pacific Island nations; Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Tonga and the Solomon Islands, with plans to expand support into Northern Pacific Island States.
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FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is a specialized agency of the United Nations working in over 130 countries to help eliminate hunger and poverty. For more information about FAO and its programmes visit: www.fao.org
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
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For more information, please contact: Sanya Ruggiero, WFP/Fiji, Tel. +679 8666 445, firstname.lastname@example.org