Safeguarding development projects from earthquake and cyclones in Temotu ProvinceFeb 16, 2018
Temotu Province, Solomon Islands - Provincial planners and Government Ministries such as Health, Agriculture and Fisheries are working together in Temotu Province to ensure that climate change and disaster risks are considered in the design and implementation of development projects.
Each year provincial governments around the Solomon Islands are responsible for constructing public infrastructure projects such as libraries, market places, administration buildings and staff housing.
Resilient Development Officer for the Temotu Provincial Government, Patrick Reoka said, “These projects provide a key opportunity to safeguard public investments and ensure that they are more resilient to disasters and climate change.”
For example, this year the Ministry of Health and Medical Services approved the construction of two staff houses in the Santa Cruz area. Through inputs from the Resilient Development Officer, these houses are being located further from the sea to minimise risk from tsunami, storm surges and slow onset sea level rise.
Across the Solomon Islands, public infrastructure is regularly destroyed by cyclones and earthquakes, undermining hard won development gains in the provinces.
“We’ve seen time and time again buildings damaged beyond repair,” said Reoka.
“New developments provide an opportunity to anticipate these risks before they happen.”
Reoka also worked with a Project Implementation Committee that identified a school library building needed to be able to withstand cyclones and earthquakes – with that the foundation of the building now contains steel rods and other footings. The needs of students living with disabilities and measures to minimise deforestation were considered.
Agriculture practices are also being targeted in Temotu Province. Farming developments can reduce forest cover and introduce damaging environmental practices, ultimately leading to increased disaster risk.
“It is really important that agriculture not only applies practices to prepare for disasters and climate change, such as water saving techniques, but also that agriculture doesn’t contribute to creating disasters in the first place,” said Risk Resilient Development Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Sipuru Rove.
He added, “Development decisions are an opportunity to invest in our future, if we’re not considering disaster and climate risks, then development just isn’t sustainable and we’ll be risk paying the cost twice or three times.”
Reoka is working with provincial planners, non-government organisations, Heads of Division and the Provincial Executive on mainstreaming risks across their projects and activities.
He said, “This is the way forward to minimize risk in one of the most disaster-prone provinces in the Solomon Islands.”
This is an initiative of the Pacific Risk Resilience Programme delivered through a partnership between the United Nations Development Programme and Live and Learn Environmental Education with supported from the Australian Government.