SUPPLEMENTARY PRIORITIES AND ACTION AGENDA ON DISASTER RISK REDUCTION AND DISASTER MANAGEMENT FOR A SAFE, SECURE AND RESILIENT VANUATU
BACKGROUND Vanuatu is under constant risk of hazardous events such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, cyclones, tsunami, floods, storm surges, and fires; the associated economic and social costs of disasters are always large. Communities, economic and social development in Vanuatu will continue to be affected by such disasters unless disaster risk reduction and disaster management (DRR&DM) are addressed by the whole country at all levels and incorporated into Vanuatu’s Priorities and Action Agenda. Vulnerability of local communities to disastrous events is increasing not only due to increases in disaster events but also because of population growth and changing lifestyle from largely subsistence to a more market based living with increased accumulation of material goods, and infrastructure development. In the light of recent regular disastrous events and increasing concerns over growing vulnerabilities to disasters, the Government has made commitments under the Pacific Plan to mainstream DRR&DM into all development decision-making in an effort to reduce risk and strengthen the resilience of communities. This is a huge challenge, particularly since this is taking Vanuatu into uncharted waters of operationalising the Hyogo and Regional Frameworks of Action for Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management, endorsed by the Vanuatu Government and other regional leaders. Vanuatu is one of the first countries in the world to systematically implement the Hyogo Framework for Action and the Regional Frameworks of Action for Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management and to develop its National Action Plan for DRR&DM. Disaster risk management comprises two main elements: disaster risk reduction - prevention, adaptation and mitigation - and disaster management- preparedness, response and recovery. An integral element of disaster risk reduction is the considerations of risk to disasters across all sectors and in the national planning and budgetary processes. Mainstreaming DRR&DM considerations into national planning and budgetary process is identified as one of the key strategies under the Under the Hyogo Framework for Action and the Regional Framework for Action for DRR&DM, together with mainstreaming DRR&DM into decision-making processes across all sectors and all levels of government and communities. Vanuatu’s national planning and budgetary process is linked to its Priorities and Action Agenda (PAA), which is an integration and prioritisation of action agendas contained in Comprehensive Reform Program, Business Forum Outcomes and the Rural Economic Development Initiatives (REDI) Plans. Vanuatu first produced a PAA in 2003 and its VANUATU DRR&DM NATIONAL ACTION PLAN 2006 3 most recent revision, covering 2005-2007, provides a link between policy and planning with the limited resources the government controls. The 2005-2007 PAA has been endorsed by the Council of Ministers and outlines the most urgent and important outcomes of these programs that will be targeted in the medium term. The PAA 2003 summarised the refined national development policies, which was endorsed by the Council of Ministers (COM) and the Development Committee of Officials (DCO). The Prime Minister during the CRP summit of November 2002 announced Government’s commitments to the following priorities:1 1. Improving governance and public service delivery by providing policy stability & fiscal sustainability via a strengthened law-enforcement and macroeconomic management capacity and a small, efficient, and accountable government; 2. Improving the lives of the people in rural areas by improving service delivery, expanding market access to rural produce, lowering costs of credit and transportation, and ensuring sustainable use of natural resources; 3. Raising private investment by lowering obstacles to growth of private enterprise including lowering costs of doing business, facilitating long-term secure access to land, and providing better support services to business; 4. Enabling greater stakeholder participation in policy formulation by institutionalising the role of chiefs, non-governmental organisations, and civil society in decision-making at all levels of government; and, 5. Increasing equity in access to income and economic opportunity by all members of the community. Specific areas of focus include: enabling universal access to primary education by school-age children, universal access to basic health services, and inducing increased employment opportunity for those seeking work. In 2005, the Government, recognising that the current PAA does not fully address disaster risk reduction and disaster management issues and challenges, requested the SOPAC/PIFS/UNDP/World Bank Partnership to help develop a supplementary PAA on DRR&DM, as a compendium to the current PAA, 2005-2007. This draft supplementary PAA focuses on an additional strategic priority of, ‘Safety, Security and Resilience’, of the Vanuatu Government. It is, however, emphasised that disaster risk management is a cross cutting issue that affects all walks of life, as well as all development priorities 1 There was no reference to natural hazards or disasters in a country that is especially prone to such hazards, nor any mention of the need to protect the people from harm, either from natural hazards or criminal activities. VANUATU DRR&DM NATIONAL ACTION PLAN 2006 4 and programs. As such, DRR&DM considerations need to be reflected in the national Vision, Medium Term Strategic Framework and the Strategic Priorities2. These changes are included in this supplementary PAA, together with a detailed strategic priority on ‘safety, security and resilience’. It is, however, emphasised that disaster risk management is a cross cutting issue that affects all walks of life, as well as all development priorities and programs. As such, DRR&DM considerations need to be reflected in the national Vision, Medium Term Strategic Framework and the Strategic Priorities. In addition, changes need to be also made to all the chapters of the PAA to fully reflect that disaster risk management is a development issue and as such needs to be fully considered in all areas of development. The current Chapter 9 on Infrastructure, with changes to reflect DRR&DM considerations, is attached as an annex 1 to illustrate the types of changes that may need to be made to all the chapters in the current PAA when next revised. When the current PAA is revised next, the supplementary PAA on ‘Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management for A Safe, Secure and Resilient Vanuatu’ will be included in the revised PAA together with changes to other chapters 3. The supplementary PAA also identifies key policies and high priority strategies required to increase community safety, security and resilience to disasters using general principles articulated in the Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management Regional Framework for Action 2005-2015, the World Bank Policy Note (Not If, But When….) and the Pacific Plan, adapting them to meet the specific conditions in Vanuatu. This supplementary PAA was prepared in tandem with the Vanuatu’s National Action Plan for DRR&DM, which provides a detailed program of action for addressing the national priorities on DRR&DM. Thus, these two documents must be considered as a package when considering DRR&DM actions for the country.