Solomon Islands through the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM) and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) have attended the 17th China-Pacific Island Countries International Symposium on Marine Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation that was held in Pingtang, China.
The symposium focuses in promoting China-Pacific Island countries cooperation in Marine Disaster Management for Resilient Islands, which is very critical in the rapid changing dynamics in disaster management landscape. The symposium draws on the wider objectives of the Belt and Road Initiatives and the 21st century maritime Silk Road initiative and cascading into the Deepening Blue Economy cooperation between the PRC and Solomon Islands
Delivering the Solomon Islands keynote address in the symposium, Deputy Secretary of the MECDM Mr. Karl Kuper stated that the symposium is fitting because Pacific Countries are located along the geologically active “Ring of Fire,” and many are also located within the South Pacific Tropical Cyclone Belt. Deputy Secretary Kuper highlighted that the geography and geology of these countries expose them to hydrometeorological events such as floods, cyclones, storm surges, and droughts; and geo-hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis pose significant development challenge to the region. He added that a single disaster event has the potential to erode many years of economic investments by damaging critical infrastructures and diverting resources away from other critical areas.
Mr. Kuper highlight that the Solomon Islands has had its fair share of marine disasters including the 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016 tsunami events and other maritime incidents, accidents and disasters with substantial loss of property and lives, emphasizing that maritime disasters are recurring phenomena that continue to challenge the Government and the people of Solomon Islands.
Mr. Kuper said that for the Solomon Islands, the ultimate objective is to build and sustain resilient development, through local communities, provincial and national mechanisms emphasizing the initiatives that enhance capacity and capability in ocean observations, marine forecasting and disaster early warning, preparedness and mitigation are at the forefront of Solomon Islands pursuit.
Solomon Islands remains committed towards achieving these noble frameworks/ objectives. This is reflected under priority objective of our National Development strategy which envisages a ‘resilient, environmentally sustainable development with effective disaster risk management response and recovery.
Deputy Secretary Kuper re-emphasis that Solomon Islands’ efforts are further strengthened through the recent endorsement of national strategies such as the S.I National Oceans Policy, National Meteorology Policy (towards reform of existing legislation), National Climate Change Policy (towards development of new climate change legislation) and ongoing review of national disaster management framework.
Furthermore, acknowledging the new engagements with the Island Research Centre of the People’s Republic of China Ministry of Natural Resources as a critical and pivotal player in the implementation of the cooperation priorities such as joint studies, sharing of know-how, techniques and experiences in these areas of interest and so forth.
Mr. Kuper expressed the Solomon Islands Government aspiration towards formalizing cooperation under marine disaster management, pointing out that Solomon Islands confidence is encouragingly enhanced by the success of recent related cooperation agreements with the recent bilateral MOU for Meteorology that directly helped improve the capability of climate and weather services for the Pacific Games 2023 which will begin a weeks’ time.
Mr. Kuper acknowledges that the symposium and cooperation engagement is truly meaningfully, and adds that it is a catalyst in enhancing cooperation support towards current and future cooperation frameworks that ultimately contribute towards more resilient and sustainable development of our people.
The participation of the Solomon Islands Government to the symposium is supported through the Ministry of Natural Resource People’s Republic of China.
The Solomon Islands delegation arrived back over the weekend.