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Focus set on project risks

Simione Haravanua
Saturday, January 27, 2018

IDENTIFYING how development projects can put people's safety at risk will help increase the success and longevity of government investments.

This has been the focus of a training undertaken this week by senior rural development and disaster management government officials from the four divisions.

The training, a result of Fiji's commitment at the Conference of Parties 23 (COP23) in Bonn, Germany in November last year, introduced participants to risk screening, the process of assessing and addressing climate change and disaster risks associated with development projects before implementation.

Initiated in partnership with the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and the Pacific Risk Resilience Programme (PRRP) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the three-day training equipped development practitioners in assessing project proposals and applications for small and major infrastructural projects.

This will ensure that new development initiatives pose no harm to people and save costs and time from potential damage.

Speaking at the training, NDMO director Anare Leweniqila said the training of development practitioners in identifying risks was a result of the Government's commitment at COP23 in Bonn.

"This risk screening tool is very important for us as practitioners because it aligns with the Prime Minister's commitment during COP23 in Bonn that Fiji is serious about implementing risk screening procedures in its development planning processes."

Mr Leweniqila said addressing risks of climate change, natural hazards and man-induced disasters ensured development projects were sustainable.

Addressing the participants, PRRP program manager Moortaza Jiwanji said the risks were not limited to scientific and technical mappings and forecasts but also inclusive of the different ways communities were affected by gender, sexuality, age, or disability, sometimes referred to as "invisible risks".

Mr Jiwanji said: "We not only need to respond and be better prepared for disasters but this needs to be complemented with sensible development, in other words, not putting people in harm's way in the first place."

Participants included development practitioners, policy makers, research offices and disaster management officials.

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