Strengthening Fiji’s capacity to prepare for droughts

Fiji droughtThe National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) led a provincial Drought Early Action Formulation Workshop in Sigatoka to gather stakeholders to formulate and endorse Early Actions for the crop, livestock, aquaculture and Forestry Sectors as well as other agriculture-related livelihoods

The workshop was supported by the Pro-Resilient Fiji project which is funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by FAO.

Evidence shows that the frequency and intensity of climate-driven natural disasters are increasing globally. Natural disasters are occurring nearly five times as often compared to 40 years ago, with great costs to local economies, livelihoods and lives. Expanding needs, competing priorities and scarce resources globally mean that new tools are needed to ensure smart, effective investments to help attenuate the impact of disasters before they occur.

Acting early before a disaster has happened or reached its peak is critical: it can save lives and protect livelihoods from the immediate shocks as well as protecting longer-term development gains by increasing the resilience of local communities over time. The Early Warning Early Action (EWEA) System translates warnings into anticipatory actions to reduce the impact of specific disaster events. It focuses on consolidating available forecasting information and putting plans in place to make sure key food security stakeholders act when a warning is at hand.

Agriculture Officer Elenoa Vosayaco emphasised, “Agriculture is a critical field that is mostly affected during natural disasters and conducting early action plans can focus farmers’ mindset to better prepare themselves so as to avoid the loss because for farmers their livelihoods depend on what is on the ground i.e crops and livestock.”

Nasaucoko community representative Ruci Navabale said, “Over the years, the village has always been prone to drought and having this Early Action workshop will enable us to better prepare ourselves to what is to come so it does not affect our livelihoods and if it does we have enough to recover from.”

In this context, the NDMO has established a Drought Early Warning System that defined indicators to trigger various level of warning and formulated the National Drought Management plan that mainstreams Early Action. This Provincial workshop was a key step in identifying adapted measures to be undertaken as Early Actions to support farmers in Ra as soon as a warning is issued.

In the past months, such a workshop was carried out in Ra and Bua provinces.

Strengthening decentralised Government Institutions, Producers Organisations and local communities’ preparedness capacity for climate-related disasters constitute an essential step in the overall process of strengthening Fiji’s capacity to prepare for droughts and implement pre-disaster Early Actions.

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