The Western Provincial Government through the Western Provincial Disaster Committee (PDC) is currently conducting its lessons learnt workshop on the whole of Government Response to the COVID-19 for the Western Provincial.
In opening the two-day workshop, the Acting Provincial Secretary and the Acting Chairman of the Western Provincial Disaster Committee (PDC) Mr. Patrick Toiraena highlighted that the recent COVID-19 global pandemic is a live experience that only confirms Solomon Islands status as not only being the second country with the highest disaster risk globally, but also the changing dynamics in the field of disaster management.
Mr. Toiraena stated that Solomon Islands Government through the National Disaster Council (NDC) and the Provincial Disaster Committees (PDC) has for the last 36 years, consistently striving to explore, develop and implement disaster risk resilience activities through the NDMO and the N-DOC/N-DOC Sector Committees and PDC/P-DOC Sectors Committees.
Mr. Toraena reminded the workshop participants that today is the day that the Western Province Government, PDC and P-DOC is given the opportunity to reflect on the lived experiences that the Province has endured in not only responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in our beautiful Province but also ensuring that the government policy back then on ensuring containment of COVID-19 and keeping the country’s economy afloat is achieved.
Western Provincial Government as part of the whole of Government response to COVID-19 has effectively implemented the two priority policies of the national Government by contributed to the community containment on the spread of the virus, and keeping the country’s economy afloat. The Acting PDC Chair acknowledged the PDC, P-DOC, Sector Committees, Private Business Houses in the Province, communities and individuals who participated in the WPG response to COVID-19 at the various levels of engagement across the province.
Mr. Toiraena said that apart from Honiara, the Western Province shared the international maritime boarder with PNG, hosting the Noro International Sea Port, the Munda International Airport, making the Province as the host to three international Port of Entries. Furthermore, the Western Province host some of the big companies that help drive the socio-economic development aspirations of the Solomon Islands such include SolTuna, NFD, SI Ports and others. Additionally, the Province is the tourism hub of the country. This makes this lesson learnt workshop unique from that of other Provinces. The acting PS emphasis that given the cross-cutting effects the COVID-10 has across all sectors including private businesses and the productive sector, it is high time that the NDC and PDC arrangement need to explore opportunities in support not only the Provincial responses to pandemic, but also how the disaster management arrangement supports the various provincial based companies and industries in future pandemic response.
In emphasising the importance of the workshop, Deputy Secretary Corporate of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology Mr. Karl Kuper stated that Lessons Learnt is an important tradition to the NDC and all arrangements establishes under the NDC and the National Disaster Management Plan of 2018. This is the NDC formal process where it looks back on major disaster operations to make sense of how the operation had been executed. It allows the NDC and all committees establishes under it to reflect on their responses and identify the best practices that have born out of the operation, identify the issues and gaps that need to be addressed and improved, and make recommendations that will drive appropriate changes to improve the NDC arrangements.
The lesson learnt workshop is attended by the member agencies of the Western Provincial Disaster Committee and Disaster Operations Committee with representatives from Shortland, Noro, Munda, Ringi and Gizo. The LLW is funded by the Solomon Islands Government through the NDC and NDMO, with additional support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) through the UNDP Integrated Disaster Risk Management Project (IDRM) and is facilitated by a team from the National Disaster Management Office of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM).
The National Disaster Council through the National Disaster Management Office acknowledges the Western Provincial Government, PDC, P-DOC, Private Sectors, Communities and individual for their contributions to the national fight against COVID-19 coordinated under the NDC arrangements.