Pacific: Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative - Phase 3

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Context and Objectives 
Pacific Islands are highly exposed to adverse effects of climate change and natural hazards, which can result in disasters affecting their entire economic, human, and physical environment and impact their long-term development agenda. Since 1950 natural disasters have affected approximately 9.2 million people in the Pacific region, causing 9,811 reported deaths (SPC 2010). This has cost the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) around USD3.2 billion (in nominal terms) in associated damage costs (EM-DAT, 2010). According to the probabilistic risk assessments of second phase of the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI), tropical cyclones, earthquakes and tsunami cause an Annual Average Loss of USD284 million, or 1.7 percent of the regional GDP. Consequently, Vanuatu, Niue and Tonga experience some of the largest annual average disaster losses globally with 6.6, 5.8 and 4.4 percent of their national GDP, respectively.

PCRAFI aimed to provide PICs with disaster and climate risk information and associated tools for enhanced risk management to inform development planning and financing decisions. The countries in the project were the Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, the Kingdom of Tonga, Republic of Vanuatu, and the Cook Islands. PCRAFI is part of the broader agenda on disaster risk management and climate change adaptation in the Pacific region and a regional flagship initiative of the World Bank.

Main Activities
The main activities of this project included:

  • Strengthening the Pacific Risk Information System (PACRIS), a database containing detailed, country-specific information on assets, population, hazards, and risks. This was done by:
    • Strengthening the capacity of technical agencies at national and regional level in its use and maintenance;
    • Strengthening the risk information and underlying data, including the update of risk exposure databases;
    • Strengthening the data-sharing platform at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community - Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SPC-SOPAC), in order to achieve expanded reach and allow access of PCRAFI data and information to the wider Pacific community, and;
    • Developing country risk atlases and other knowledge products to effectively communicate risk information to policy and decision makers.
  • Developing an application for Rapid Disaster Impact Estimations immediately following disasters. This would provide disaster managers and first responders with tools and information to quickly gain an overview following a disaster on areas and population affected, and the likely severity of the event in terms of potential fatalities, injuries and building, infrastructure and crop damage.

Results

  • The Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, the Kingdom of Tonga, Republic of Vanuatu, and the Cook Islands, obtained access to and training on an updated information risk platform (PACRIS) and rapid post-assessment tools. The Secretariat of the Pacific Community Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC), the implementing agency, set up the PACRIS database as a GeoNode location.
  • During the project, 122 government staff were trained on the online PACRIS system, amongst which beneficiaries in Tonga in February 2016, and in Samoa in May 2016.
  • Work started on the development of an offline PACRIS system.
  • The six governments received Post-Disaster Budget Extension Guidelines, which provide a suite of tools for managing financial demands in the wake of any natural disaster.
  • A rapid loss impact tool was developed which was presented at the 2015 Geographic Information System & Remote Sensing conference held in Suva. The tool produces reports and maps of estimated damages that are easier to use for non-Geographic Information System users.

Partnerships and Coordination
In-country activities involve technical agencies responsible for disaster risk management, GIS, surveying, hazard monitoring, climate adaptation, statistics; as well as policy makers and planners within central agencies and line ministries responsible for urban/spatial planning.

Several meetings were held with key stakeholders, including the EU and the Austrualian Government, in May and June 2017 during the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cancun, Mexico, and the third edition of the World Reconstruction Conference in Brussels, Belgium.

Country
Region
  • Pacific
Priority area
  • Risk identification and assessment
Window of Action
  • Window 1
Amount approved
  • $1,300,419
Co-financing
  • $1,180,000
Duration
  • 08/2012 to 06/2017