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Closing statement By Hon. Inia B. Seruiratu. The Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, and Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry During The National Platform for Disaster Risk Management Novotel, Lami Fiji: 19th-22nd Aug

Excellences, Permanent Secretaries

Partners

Participants

Ladies and gentlemen

 

It is a pleasant task for me as the Minister responsible for disaster risk management in Fiji to officiate at the closing of this 1st National Platform for Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change.

 
Some of you have come far and wide from the four divisions and rural communities, local governments, private sector, non-government and civil society organisations, government ministries, statutory bodies and government companies; I salute you for your unwavering support and attendance in the last 4 days. We salute the European Union who funded this Platform; and also the Secretariat of the Pacific Community as the regional window to this funding source. I also acknowledge the efforts by our regional and international partners based here who contributed to this Platform.

The theme, “Reducing Disaster Risk and Climate Change Vulnerability through Resilience Development” of this Platform is a fitting statement reflecting on the progress that we have made so far in our collective attempt to enhance disaster resilience through climate change and disaster risk management efforts. Your contributions in the last 4 days have given us a direction and a mandate to work on how to improve disaster risk management and climate change for Fiji.

 Whilst you have given us the mandate, we hope that you have your own take-home, to the sectors you represent, to the national and sub-national levels and also the community.

 This joint Platform is a Fiji first has also given us the opportunity to take stock of our disaster and climate change situations. We need to create favorable opportunities and directions for growth in the country. For too long we have been working in silos and separately with little commitments to integrate our efforts. I am positive that after these 4 days of deliberations, you have found the pathway to reconcile these separations.

 You may have realized also at this Platform that there were gaps to be filled and synergies harmonized and strengthened. You have contributed to this development process that will lead to a change and shift in paradigm.

 The Government has given us the direction through the Green Growth Framework, the Road Map beyond 2014. This platform is a reflection of the Government’s initiative and I believe amongst the 11 thematic areas of the Green Growth Framework, DRM and Climate Change has taken the lead.

 This Platform has provided the pathway to align our national instruments to the regional and international instruments we have heard in the last few days. Fiji is on the right path and I must thank you for making this happen.

 Current disaster management arrangements including the Natural Disaster Management Act and National Disaster Management Plan will be revised to reflect changes identified in this Platform. You have also given us a mandate to develop a National Strategic Plan for disaster risk management and climate change.

 Again, I must thank the organizers of this Platform that make this forum a success; the European Union as the main donor, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, my Ministry and especially the National Disaster Management Office as the Secretariat and main coordinating agency, the Climate Change Division and the Strategic Planning Office, and the Steering Committee that developed and guided the Platform process. It was no easy task given the time frame to allow this process to happen, but they rose to the occasion making this Platform possible. I thank the management of Novotel Hotel for providing us this venue.

 To conclude, I look forward to receive the Meeting Statement endorsed in this Platform. From here it will go to Cabinet to allow for the directions that has been given by you, the people of Fiji represented here.

 I therefore take this opportunity to thank you for your participation in the last 4 days and I bid you good wishes and bon-voyage on your way back home and to your respective workplaces.

 Vinaka vakalevu, and with these words I now declare this Platform closed.