Honiara, Solomon Islands (2 May 2023)
This week, under the Solomon Islands-Australia partnership for disaster resilience, the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) launched the second round of induction training for its region-leading National Emergency Response Team (NERT) program. The training, which is taking place from 1-7 May 2023, is funded by Australia through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Highlighting the importance of the NERT program, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Dr Melchior Mataki said, “The NERT program is a critical component of the Solomon Islands Government disaster response mechanism and will ensure we have trained personnel across sectors, within and outside of Government, available to respond quickly and save lives. Into the future, the NERT program will also be used to support risk reduction efforts.”
Since the first induction training in 2019, Solomon Islands has led the way in the Pacific, as the only NDMO in the region to have a rapid disaster deployment mechanism tailored from the global best practice approach. The UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) methodology equips NERT members in humanitarian coordination, assessment and response, boosting the multidisciplinary cadre of emergency response officers available to the Solomon Island Government to 65 people ahead of the Pacific Games.
Acknowledging the achievements of the NDMO leadership, Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner, Ms Sally-Anne Vincent said, “Solomon Islands’ disaster response deployment mechanisms are setting the standard for disaster preparedness in the Pacific. As disasters become more common around the world, Australia will continue to listen to Pacific priorities, as we have in supporting the establishment of the NERT program.”
“Australia worked hand in hand with the Solomon Islands Government to support the development of the National Disaster Management Plan in 2018 and again to fund the first NERT training in 2019. The Solomon Islands-Australia partnership for disaster resilience is long-standing and we look forward to it continuing for years to come as we face our shared challenges together,” she said.
Underscoring the importance of coordination as part of disaster response planning, UNDP Humanitarian Coordination Specialist, Ms Vini Talai said, “Partnership is crucial to the development, management, and sustainability of NERT. As the lead UN agency in the Solomon Islands, UNDP is pleased to partner with UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and other subject matter experts in delivering the NERT training.” Other international partners contributing to the training include the Pacific Community (SPC), the Australian Civil-Military Coordination Centre (ACMC), and the US Centre for Excellence in Disaster Management (CFEDM).
Mr John Sumana, President of the Solomon Islands Red Cross Board, has seen the benefits of NERT firsthand. After coordinating NERT’s contribution to the Solomon Islands COVID-19 response, Mr Sumana said, “One thing that NERT has improved a lot is communication during disasters – previously every organisation had their own processes, but now we have a unified way to manage information.”
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- JOINT PRESS RELEASE – UNDP and DFAT
[TM1]NDMO is proud of its leadership and self-sufficiency in the disaster resilience space. I’d suggest we leave the headline as acknowledging Solomon Islands, but then getting our messaging across through consistent references to Australia throughout the paragraphs.