Solomon Islands is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire and within the tropical cyclone belt. It is exposed to several geological and hydro meteorological hazards which include earthquake, tsunami volcano, drought, tropical cyclone and flooding to name a few. The country comprises of an archipelago of 997 islands with a total land area of 28,447 square kilometres islands spreading over 1.34 square kilometres of ocean. Its total projected population of 653,000 (2017) is dispersed across 90 inhibited islands. Distances between islands are also significant which poses a major logistical challenge in terms of provision of basic services especially when 85% of the population live in rural areas. Disaster response is often challenged by huge cost of logistics, access to appropriate transport means and limited resources at the provincial level. This makes capacity building of the National Disaster Management Office and its provincial disaster management offices an important priority in bringing assistance closer to affected communities.
The Strengthening Disaster Risk Management Project is in line with UN Development Programme and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs priorities for engagement in the Solomon Islands and reflects the consultations with the National Disaster Management Office and the Australian Government and builds on the best results of the previous project implemented in 2016 for three years. At its core, the project is contributing to the implementation of the Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Plan 2018 as per the Australia-Solomon Island Disaster Preparedness and Response Partnership. This project complements and coordinates UN Disaster Assesssment and Coordination engagement with Solomon Islands and complementary information management support from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of the Pacific Islands.
The project also supports the Government of Solomon Islands in humanitarian coordination and disaster preparedness and is delivering the following outcomes:
- Inter-sectoral coordination among N-DOC; N-DOC Sector Committees and non-state stakeholders is strengthened for effective disaster preparedness and response.
- Engagement with regional and global humanitarian partners and civil society is strengthened for effective disaster preparedness and response.
- In-country capacity is strengthened to support national level response and supplement capacity gaps in affected provinces.
- Minimum provincial preparedness strengthened.
- Solomon Island National Disaster Management Office effectively implements its annual work plan for 2019.
More specifically, the project is supporting the National Disaster Management Office to operationalise the newly developed National Disaster Management Plan 2018 in key focus areas.