Suva, Fiji – The Fiji Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management (MRMDDM) have embarked on the development of a 10-Year Resilient Strategic Development Plan (SDP) that will ensure that rural and maritime communities in Fiji are productive, progressive, safe and resilient. The SDP will outline the Ministry’s vision and priorities for the next 10 years, with a focus on protecting vulnerable communities and utilising data to protect development initiatives. The SDP will also address the importance of effective and efficient coordination between all stakeholders working for rural and maritime communities.
A Letter of Agreement (LoA) between the MRMDDM and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji was endorsed today. This strategic partnership includes support to develop the SDP, development of a database management system, which brings together existing geospatial, monitoring and evaluation and social data to support evidence-based decision making, and the establishment of two risk-informed development government positions, with support from the Governance for Resilient Development in the Pacific (Gov4Res) Project. The role of the two risk-informed development positions will include working closely with the four divisions to support the implementation of the SDP and delivery risk informed projects in communities.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Minister for MRMDDM Hon. Inia Seruiratu said the signing of the LOA marked yet another successful collaboration with one of the Ministry’s long-term partners.
“We have started to look at things from a different perspective. The way we live is changing and will continue to do so. As such, we need to develop new strategies and plans and the way we do developments must change. Our new development paradigm must have resilience at its core,” said Hon. Seruiratu.
Echoing the same sentiments, Permanent Secretary for MRMDDM, David Kolitagane in his opening remarks said, “development without climate change and disaster risk management can be costly and even disastrous. Risk-informing development across sectors is crucial to the resilience of rural communities in Fiji.”
The UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Deputy Resident Representative, a.i., Kevin Petrini highlighted in his remarks that the vision and leadership of MRMDDM to develop a SDP that will coordinate the development efforts of stakeholders in rural and maritime communities in Fiji is admirable.
While the Ministry’s development efforts are commendable, Fiji is still facing considerable social and development challenges due to the increasing impacts of climate change and disasters, which are also being exacerbated by COVID-19. As highlighted by Hon. Inia Seruiratu during his 2020-2021 budget speech, it is “crucial not only to effectively address these [COVID-19] challenges, but also more importantly to ensure our development efforts are more resilient”.
Through this partnership, MRMDDM in close collaboration with UNDP through the Gov4Res Project will pursue the flowing strategic areas:
- Formulating a 10-Year Resilient Strategic Development Plan that will be framed by the goals and targets outlined in the Fiji National Development Plan (2036), as well as aggregating the ambitions of the four (draft) Divisional Development Plans
- Integrating risk-informed approaches into policies, frameworks and standard operating procedures
- Development of a database management system, which brings together existing geospatial, monitoring and evaluation and social data to support evidence-based decision making with gender and social inclusion at its core
- Strengthening the Public Sector Investment Programme to ensure projects at community level are risk informed
With such support and concerted efforts, MRMDDM and UNDP through the Gov4Res Project will ensure that rural communities in Fiji are productive, progressive, safe and resilient.
About the project
The Gov4Res Project is working together with Pacific Island governments to ensure that countries adapt their decision making and governance systems towards more risk-informed development. The Project, implemented by the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji is partnering with a range of partners including the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
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