Part III
Coordination Activities in the Field

Regional Disaster Response Adviser for the Pacific

  Requirements 624,978  
  Income from Voluntary Contributions 402,520  
  EXPENDITURE    
  Staff Costs 413,966  
  Consultant Fees and Travel  
  Travel 90,119  
  Operating Expenses 35,733  
  Contractual Services 2,100  
  Supplies, Materials, Furniture and Equipment 5,450  
  Fellowships, Grants and Contributions  
  Programme Support Costs 71,157  
  Total Expenditure (US$) 618,525  

 

Context

2006 was a year of political instability among the Pacific Island countries and territories. In April there was civil unrest and rioting in the Solomon Islands, triggered by dissatisfaction after the elections. The fragile economy of the Solomon Islands suffered and conditions worsened for the population in Honiara. Tonga experienced a wave of violent pro-democracy protests in November after democratic reforms were not approved. Fiji experienced its third coup in 20 years, which was strongly condemned by the international community, and tourism, foreign exports, foreign investments and employment have suffered. The root political and ethnical causes of unrest remain in the region and there is a high potential for further conflict.

Despite the fact that the 14 Pacific Island countries and territories are located on the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, the cyclone season was relatively benign in 2006 and they were spared significant impact from natural disasters. Although Pacific Island communities have developed good coping mechanisms with limited resources, many rely on outside support for relief assistance and quick recovery, and there is a growing demand from governments in the Pacific region to allocate more resources to disaster management, preparedness and response activities, including strengthened early warning systems.

Objectives

Following consultations with the humanitarian community, OCHA redefined its objectives at the beginning of 2006 to further strengthen United Nations support to natural disaster management in the region:

Activities and Accomplishments

In 2006 the RDRA for the Pacific enhanced coordination and coherence in disaster management by establishing United Nations Disaster Management Teams (DMTs) in Samoa and Fiji. The DMTs focused on preparedness activities such as the development of Standard Operating Procedures. The RDRA for the Pacific also supported the UNCT in preparing a Pandemic Contingency Plan and advocating for mainstreaming Disaster Management in the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). Wide-reaching political instability and the military coup in Fiji limited the RDRA for the Pacific’s involvement in the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) and the Asia Pacific Humanitarian Partnership meetings at the end of 2006.

The RDRA for the Pacific focused on establishing an efficient UNDAC team, enhancing UNDAC effectiveness and strengthening its links with UNDAC members. UNDAC membership was consolidated following a review of status and discontinuation of inactive members. In October, OCHA organized the UNDAC Pacific Retreat to prepare UNDAC members for the cyclone season and enhance communication between UNDAC members, National Mobilization Centres, National Focal Points and the RDRA for the Pacific in Suva, to ensure rapid mobilization and deployment of UNDAC teams.

Support to Natural Disaster Management Offices (NDMOs) and governments was ensured through regular contacts, collaboration on National Disaster Management Plans and other disaster management activities. The RDRA worked with the Pacific Emergency Management Training Advisory Group (PEMTAG) to coordinate disaster management training in the region. OCHA supported PEMTAG partners – Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), The Asia Foundation/ OFDA and IFRC – by participating in a National Disaster Management Field exercise in Vanuatu. OCHA collaborated with SOPAC, UNDP and IFRC to develop a web-based database of disaster management resources for the Pacific. The database provides practitioners, managers and decision makers with a broad overview of disaster management in the region to facilitate analysis for identifying gaps in National Action Plans, legislation and policy as well as a platform for sharing information and exchanging practices.

The RDRA for the Pacific worked to reinforce coordination with other humanitarian actors by involving NDMOs, the Red Cross Movement, regional organizations and donors in disaster management activities. OCHA collaborated with the FRANZ Group (formed by the Governments of France, Australia and New Zealand) to improve collaboration and information-sharing in regional disaster response.

A joint assessment mission to Vanuatu was undertaken by a multidisciplinary team comprising OCHA, the NDMO, the Red Cross, WHO and UNICEF to assess the impact of an ash eruption from the Lopevi volcano in June. OCHA also participated in an inter-agency mission to explore areas in which the United Nations could provide technical assistance to the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Performance Evaluation