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By Asenati Taugasolo Semu, Press Secretariat of the Government of Samoa: http://www.savalinews.com

11 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - Addressing the real needs of the countries and their people is the way forward for Samoa to deal with climate and disaster related issues.

This was according to the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Filomena Nelson during her presentation at the Joint Meeting of the 2013 Pacific Climate Change for Disaster Risk Management & Pacific Climate Change Roundtable this week.

Nelson highlighted her country’s perspective for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Linkages to the Roadmap.

One of the suggestions raised by Nelson is to maintain status quo - separate regulatory and institutional or governance  frameworks but recognise synergies through implementation.

She also pointed out the engagement of more private sector and non governmental organisations.

“We should address real issues, resettlement and relocation of extremely vulnerable communities,” said Filomena.

“We should address synergies and commonalities and to focus on the risks when addressing these synergies.

“There should be clear roles and responsibilities of regional organisations and donors,” she said.

“Although disaster risk management and climate change have synergies, but there are also major differences in response arrangements and the fact that not all disasters are caused by climate related hazards.

Nelson said some challenges that should be implemented in the roadmap are coordination by respective sectors, communication among agencies, sharing resources and knowledge and most importantly assessing funds.

She suggested that the implementation of climate change and risk reduction adaptation and mitigation strategies should be prioritised.

“This includes climate early warning products, promoting agro forestry, first aid and search and rescue response capability.”

“She said response capability should be provided to villages within forest fire prone area and also early warning capability through fire sirens, first aid and search and rescue response capability.”

The Joint Meeting of the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management and the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable is from 8 - 11 July and is jointly organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme. The meeting is hosted by the Government of Fiji.