Address of the UN RC at the closing ceremony of the GIS training

19 Apr 2013

Mr. John Arumba, Acting Deputy Secretary, Department of Mineral Policy and Geo-hazard Management,

Mr. Martin Mose, Acting Director, National Disaster Centre

Joy Papao and Litea Biukoto from SPC who have come all the way from Fiji to facilitate the training

Friends and Colleagues

It is a pleasure to be with you today at the closing ceremony of this very important training.  I recall, some two years ago, on behalf of UNDP I handed over a range of hardware and software to the Geo-Hazard Management Division to support the development of hazard and risk   information to strengthen disaster risk management systems at various levels.  And I am told that this two-weeks training program on advance GIS is part to further sharpen the hazard monitoring and mapping capacities of the technical agencies.

 

As you all know Located on the margins of the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates, Papua New Guinea is highly vulnerable to geological hazards including earthquakes, tsunamis and landslides. A large number of population is vulnerable to volcanic eruptions.  As you know most of the geological hazards in Papua New Guinea are rapid onset hazards which develop with little warning and strike rapidly.  In this context the role of technical agencies such as Geo-Hazard Management are crucial when it comes to

 

1.            Monitoring of hazard threats

2.        Provision of adequate early warnings, advice on mitigation measures, and promotion of hazard  awareness.

3.            Assessment of the hazards.                                               

In order to make development sustainable, we need to understand the risks posed by hazards to development and systematically incorporate hazard consideration into development planning process. Departments like Geo-Hazard Management Lands and Physical Planning have a crucial role in this regard.  As a reservoir of technical and scientific data and information they are best placed to provide hazard and risk information to different clients within and outside of Government.   We understand that there are gaps in the ability of the agency to provide a full suite of risk information to support planning and decision-making by Government and other agencies. In this context the UNDP and National Disaster Centre in collaboration with the SPC have developed a Disaster Risk Management programme.  One of the elements of the programme is to assist the technical agencies to close the gap in terms of their overall capacity building requirement. The programme will gather hazard and vulnerability data and establish a system for dissemination of the risk information to Government to better frame development interventions. 

The National Disaster Centre being in the frontline of  disaster management will always be the main users of information that needs to be further disseminated to the public, and eventually to the last mile.  We are also working with the NDC’s to strengthen its position within the wider governance context of the country and build its DRM capacities. The overarching strategy is to systematically incorporate hazard consideration into development planning and budgetary process and strengthen the Governance arrangements relating to disaster risk management.  Last year the  UN provided policy and technical support to strengthen the DRM institutional arrangements through the development of a National Disaster Risk Management Plan (NDRMP).  The NDRM Plan which has now been endorsed by the GoPNG provides an institutional framework for DRM at all levels and paved the way for the revision of the existing DM legislation.  We stand ready to assist NDC in the revision of the DM legislation.

 

In order to strengthen response and preparation mechanisms within Government and between Government and the Development Partner Community, the UN facilitates the Disaster Management Team (UN DMT), which is an inter-agency body made up of  participants from Government, UN agencies and NGOs that coordinates emergency preparedness and response in PNG. 

 

I would also like to highlight that the importance of DRM has now been noted by the PNG government and the UN, and both have allocated more resources in order to scale up preparedness activities in 2013. These activities will focus on strengthening response and preparedness mechanisms, both within Government and between Government and the Development Partner Community.  We will continue to work with all of you to make PNG a resilient nation.

I understand that 16 participants from four technical agencies; Department of lands and physical planning, Rabaul Volcanic Observatory, Port Moresby Geo-physical observatory and Port Moresby Engineering Department participated in the training.  I sincerely hope that the training has adequately capacitated all of you to undertake the crucial task of hazard monitoring and mapping within your agencies.  I wish all the very best in all your endeavours.

Thank you.