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Papua New Guinea

Kokopo to host APEC meet

KOKOPO town in East New Britain Province will host APEC’s 12th Senior Disaster Management Officers Forum (SDMOF) from September 25-26.

The theme for the forum is “Advancing Multi-hazard Early Warning Systems For Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Risk Management (DRM).”

The forum will be attended by delegates from APEC economies, private sector, non-government organisations and others.

There will be an array of speakers from the APEC communities speaking on the synthesis of research, data collection and analysis for effective warnings, the communication and delivery of warning messages, and the localisation of warnings based on lessons learned from the major natural disasters that have hit the economy including the volcanic eruptions in Rabaul (1994), the Aitape tsunami (1998), Cyclone Guba (2007), the El Nino droughts of 1997-1998 and 2015-2016, including the disaster experiences from other APEC economies.

PNG experiences frequent natural disasters and these have increased due to climate change events in recent times. For PNG, and the smaller Pacific countries, climate change will continue to trigger unprecedented weather pattern changes posing greater threat to infrastructure, lives, business and the environment.

On a global scale, the Asia-Pacific region has experienced 50 per cent of the world’s natural disasters, including: the Indian Ocean tsunami that killed 200,000 people in 2004, Nargis typhoon killed 138,366 people in 2008 at Burmese and Sri Lanka, and 19,846 people were killed in the Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011. The earthquake in Nepal killed 8000, with loss and damages worth approximately 10 billion dollars to the Government of Nepal.

In addition, the region sees more severe damages by climate-induced disasters by both frequency and quantity.

This forum will exchange knowledge and experiences of implementation and discuss recommendations for enhancing cooperation among the APEC region, framing discussions around the Sendai Framework for Action 2015-2030.

The Sendai Framework for Action (2015-2030) was adopted at the Global Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in Japan, 2015. The overall objective to significantly reduce the risks of natural disasters and loss of lives, livelihoods, health and economic, natural, social, cultural assets and environment of the people, businesses, communities and nations.

The PNG Government had proposed that the outcomes will include policy statements and recommendations to ensure that early warning systems facilitate the monitoring of multiple hazards, and the sharing of best practices in the use of digital technology to collect, store, and analyse monitoring and warning data.

Preparations towards this event has been underway with the advance team already on the ground meeting with various key stakeholders, especially the East New Britain Provincial Administration, PNG Power, Provincial Health Authority, Joint Security Force, Hotels, National Airports Corporation (NAC), Telikom and others.

The two lead agencies – the Climate Change and Development Authority and the National Disaster Centre have confirmed that all logistical arrangement, including Security for the delegates, accommodation, flights into and out of Kokopo town and tours have all been secured and the province is ready to receive the visitors.

The PNG Government’s commitment and concerns are reflected through the signing of Paris Agreement in 2016 and hosting of the APEC 12th SDMOF in Kokopo.

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