Pacific islands launch Sendai Framework Monitor

Source(s): United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - Sub-Regional Office for the Pacific

SUVA, Fiji 28 March 2018 – Six weeks after it was hit by a Category 4 cyclone, Tonga is now trained in the use of the new online tool for measuring disaster losses, the Sendai Framework Monitor.

Rolling out the Sendai Framework Monitor is part of Pacific-wide efforts to implement the global plan for reducing disaster losses, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

Senior disaster managers and statistics officers from ten countries attended the introductory training: Australia; Cook Islands; Fiji; Federated States of Micronesia; Palau; Republic of Marshall Islands; Samoa; Solomon Islands; Tonga; and Vanuatu. All of these countries are exposed to a high level of disaster risk associated with climate change including sea level rise and the growing intensity of extreme weather events such as storms, floods, heatwaves and drought.

The Head of Tonga’s National Emergency Management Office, Mr. Leveni Aho, said the Sendai Framework Monitor had the potential to better inform policymaking, improve coordination and preparedness, and, in so doing, reduce disaster risk and associated losses.

“The Sendai Framework Monitor is something we could use to bring everyone on board – from the Ministry of Finance and Planning as well as other parts of government – all working together to strengthen overall disaster management and risk reduction efforts,” he said.

Last month, Cyclone Gita caused two fatalities, damaged or destroyed over 1,000 homes and caused US$140 million in direct economic losses across Tonga’s two main islands Tongatapu (including the capital Nuku’Alofa) and Eua. The agricultural sector was hardest hit: 90% of fruit trees and 40% of root crops were destroyed.

Tonga was one of ten Pacific countries participating in a training on the Sendai Framework Monitor, which also emphasized how the system could significantly ease the burden of reporting for two reasons.

First, the Sendai Framework Monitor will be able to utilize existing data in the Pacific Disaster Loss Database (PDaLo). Second, it can be used to assess progress against national, regional and international development frameworks and commitments.

At the regional level, the Sendai Framework Monitor links to the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific. And at the global level, it links to the Sendai Framework and the Sustainable Development Goals in terms of Goal 1, end poverty; Goal 11, resilient cities; Goal 13, climate change.

The explicit link of the Sendai Framework Monitor to the SDGs was welcomed by Ms. Anna Pitaboe, of the Solomon Islands National Statistics Office.

“For our work in the Solomon Islands and with such a small team this connection to the SDGs is really a big selling point. It makes our life easier and reduces the work involved,” she said.

UNISDR Pacific Sub-regional Coordinator, Mr. Andy McElroy said the training had shown that the Sendai Framework Monitor was both usable and useful for Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

“The next step in most countries is to continue to raise awareness of how the Sendai Monitor can improve national policymaking and be a labour saving device for national, regional and global reporting commitments. UNISDR is committed to support this process,” said Mr. McElroy.

Several key partners also attended the training, including the Pacific Community (SPC), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Pacific Disability Forum, UNESCAP and UNDP. The workshop was hosted by the University of South Pacific and organized with the support of funding from the Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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