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Keynote Remarks By Mr. Meleti Bainimarama Permanent Secretary for Rural & Maritime Development and National Disaster Management On the Inception meeting of the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA for TC Winston) | Ro Lalabalavu House | Suva March 29th 20

Members of the Development Partners Community
Experts from Abroad & those based in Suva
Ladies and gentlemen,
Ni sa bula vinaka.

It is my great pleasure to welcome you all today at the inception meeting of the PDNA process after the week-long training last week. Early last week, Cabinet through the National Disaster Management Council has decided to extend the period of the “State of the Natural Disaster” to an additional 30 days meaning that the PDNA process and the humanitarian response will run concurrently to achieve its intended objectives.

May I take this opportunity on behalf of the Prime Minister to welcome you all to Fiji. A
Special welcome to Mr. Roberto Jovel, the technical Lead of the PDNA, Mr. Michael Bonte from the World Bank Group. Fiji is no stranger to some of you and no doubt you will enjoy your working holiday whilst here.

I make special mention to the wonderful work on the logistical preparation undertaken thus far and credit must go to the key partners: United Nations(UN), European Union(EU), the Bank, Asian Development Bank(ADB) and the Pacific Community(SPC).

Tropical Cyclone (TC) Winston was one of the most severe cyclones to ever hit the South Pacific. 350,000 people have been affected by the cyclone – approximately 40 per cent of the country’s population. As part of our on-going humanitarian efforts, we will continue to maximise operational presence and ensure that deployment and mobility become visible on the ground.

Ladies & Gentlemen, the Minister for Rural & Maritime Development and National Disaster Management in his opening address last week at the opening of the PDNA Training placed emphasis on the operationalization of the PDNA methodology in Government’s Disaster Management machinery. This is again something I would to like to reaffirm today and your presence today is a continuous realization of this continuous undertaking.

A fortnight ago, the Pacific Community facilitated a similar 2- day training for development partners and this is a testament of commitment on the PDNA process and Government officials presented at the training last week were reminded by the Minister to go above and beyond expectations to complement these efforts. The mobilization of experts for the TC Winston PDNA is something that Government is cognizant about and government officials have been urged to make good use of your presence whilst here.

We won’t restrict ourselves to seek your expert advice on PDNA issues alone but rather on your respective areas of expertise and how it can inform Government’s developmental agenda in the years to come. As I mention this, Government is on the verge of finalizing its draft National Development Plan mid next month and again the preliminary findings of the PDNA will inform the finalization process. So this is very important for us and I hope you treat it the same way.

The next three weeks are likely to be intense as you crunch the data – both quantitative and qualitative. The PDNA provides the necessary information for government, development partners and all stakeholders to respond effectively to short, medium and long-term needs and priorities. It strives to provide the necessary strategy to address needs in a more targeted approach to ensure that limited resources available are used effectively. I am confident that we will cross the bridge when we get there.

Ladies & gentlemen, the Minister last week had alluded to the significant capacity development nature of the PDNA exercise and is of course an utmost priority for us. This is the second PDNA to be conducted in Fiji and similar trainings conducted last week will need to be an on-going exercise and we look forward to the World Bank, United Nations, EU, ADB, the Pacific Community and bilateral partners for support.

I am confident that the month ahead will be as productive and as demanding as we had planned. I will be involved in the management level oversight of the process and will be guided by the expert advice of the Technical lead, key partners and complemented by that from the Strategic Planning Officials.

I had the liberty to convene a meeting with fellow Permanent Secretaries on the PDNA process three weeks ago and let me assure you all, I can speak on our behalf to express our profound gratitude to key partners on the ground work done thus far and offer our unwavering support to the finalization of the PDNA process.

Ladies & Gentlemen, I thank you all for listening this morning and all the best for this coming month.