The Caretaker Minister of Climate Change, Silas Bule, said the newly launched Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Policy (CCDRR) will build Vanuatu’s resilience and support the sustainable development of the community, environment and economy.
“Vanuatu’s society, environment and economy are highly vulnerable to climate change and disaster risks,” he said during the recent launching of the policy.
“The devastating consequences of a category five cyclone, and the subsequent severe El Niño and the crises accompanied by unstable Volcanic activities as highlight our country’s risk from natural disasters.
“Predicted increases in extreme weather from climate change means we will face even greater impacts in the future. We also live with the threat of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis.
“A key priority for the Vanuatu government is achieving sustainable and resilient development across all levels and sectors in our small island nation, by addressing the risks we face from climate change and disaster impacts.
“We need to collaborate with our partners to plan and prepare for, and respond to, these challenges. It is vital that we make the best use of our human, natural and financial resources.
“For decades, climate change and disaster risk reduction were treated at global, regional and national levels as separate policy issues, leading to duplication of structures and funding.”
He said the CCDRR Policy is an important advance in integrating work in these overlapping fields, placing Vanuatu at the forefront of innovative approaches in the Pacific and internationally.
“This policy promotes good governance and establishes clear priorities for future action. It will deliver better information on and assessment of our climate change and disaster risks,” he said.
“Our key strategies are set out transparently to all stakeholders, including the community we serve, international donors and agencies.
“The policy builds on our existing systems and cultural heritage to improve Vanuatu’s resilience, and incorporates monitoring and evaluation of projects and outcomes, and capturing experience and lessons learned to inform planning and good practices. Coordination and communication at all levels of government and across sectors and communities are crucial to the effective implementation of this policy. Provincial authorities and area councils play key roles, in line with decentralisation.
“The policy promotes active participation and engagement of all groups in society, recognising their different priorities, skills and knowledge in addressing climate and disaster risks. Women and vulnerable groups — including the elderly, disabled and youth — will share in planning, decision-making and community action.”
The caretaker minister acknowledged the contributions of all partners in the private sector, international agencies and especially the civil society.
The technical support provided by the United States Agency for International Development in formulating the Policy Implementation Plan is also commended.