World first in resilience for the Pacific Islands

In a world-first, the Pacific has launched a regional industry association for practitioners involved in climate change, disasters and other sectors related to building resilience.

The Pacific Regional Federation for Resilience Professionals (PRFRP) will boost the skills, education, training and employment opportunities for diverse professionals dedicated to climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and maintaining ecosystem services in a highly vulnerable region.

The launch by the European Union, Pacific Community (SPC) and The University of the South Pacific (USP) took place at the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management in Suva, Fiji, within the margins of Pacific Resilience Week 2016.

Envisioned to become a vibrant industry association, the federation will be supported through two major projects: the EU’s Pacific Technical Vocational Education and Training in Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Adaptation Project (EU PacTVET) and the Global Environment Facility Pacific International Waters Ridge to Reef Project.

According to the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific, Head of Infrastructure, Natural Resources, Environment and Energy Section, Jesus Laviña, the new federation will be a vital support mechanism for practitioners on the frontlines of climate change and disasters and elevate resilience as a sector in its own right. 

“The new federation will assist the certification of practitioners with a resilience-related qualification by housing a Resilience Industry Skills Advisory Committee which will review and update the education and training curriculum and practices for this qualification,” Mr Laviña said.

“Its focus will be closely aligned with regional and national needs for Pacific ACP countries, and we look forward to building the federation in conjunction with our government partners, SPC and USP,” he said.

In attendance at the launch were Fiji’s Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts, the Hon Dr Mahendra Reddy; Vanuatu’s Minister of Education and Training, the Hon Jean Pierre Nirua; Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Education, the Hon Nick Kuman; Tuvalu’s Education Minister, the Hon Fauoa Maani; and a representative of Samoa’s Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, Ms Vaiaso Finau Paulo.

The federation’s five-year mission is to create an enabling environment for applying best practice in climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and maintenance of ecosystem services in the Pacific.

Apart from improving the quality of education, training and certification of practitioners in the climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction sectors, it is also seen as a positive vehicle for greater cross sectoral integration and coordination, as characterised in the Ridge to Reef approach.

The federation was made possible through the support of the EU-supported EUR 6.1 million (FDJ 14.06 million) EU PacTVET Project jointly implemented by USP and SPC.

Photo: SPC