Table of Contents
- POLICY OBJECTIVES
- GUIDING PRINCIPLES
- KEY THEMATIC PRIORITIES
- Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance
- National Information Management and Communication
- Strengthening National and Local Self-Reliance
- Funding, Financial Management and Monitoring
- FIJI CLUSTER SYSTEM
- DISASTER ASSISTANCE IN THE PACIFIC
In February 2016, TC Winston widely devastated a nation and thousands of communities that had not yet fully recovered from the natural disaster brought by TC Evans in November 2012. In the few years between these two tropical cyclones, Fiji experienced near drought conditions for over 3 years, several other cyclones and seasonal floods, and a number of earthquake-related tsunami alerts.
Together, these events have forced this government to the realization that climate change is already happening, and disasters are the new norm. If the people of Fiji are to remain strong and safe in the face of certain environmental threats, the Fiji government and the Fiji people must change.
The way we live must change. We must address the risks of natural disaster by reducing, mitigating, transferring, accepting or living with them. Governance structures, systems, processes and attitudes must change, and responsibility must be carried by individuals, communities, and the nation. It is a collective responsibility.
We must change the way we do development, advocate on environmental issues, and ensure that development is sustainable. We must change agricultural processes and crop selection, as well as attitudes of people to ensure that households invest in stronger household structures.
We must improve the way we cooperate, domestically and internationally.
This will all come at a cost, it will be expensive, but it is absolutely necessary to invest in disaster risk reduction. There are many issues to be addressed, but excellence must be pursued.
Fiji is therefore adopting the post-TC Winston Disaster Response Agenda to transform adversity into disaster and climate resilience through the:
- National Humanitarian Policy, to institutionalize humanitarian practices;
- National Fiji Cluster System, endorsed in a national guideline manual;
- Medium-Term Programme for strengthening humanitarian capacities.
As the first part of the Agenda, this National Humanitarian Policy is the outcome of wide consultation with national stakeholders from Government, private sector, CSOs, FBOs, NGOs and communities, as well as international humanitarian partners and donors.
I am certain that this Policy will provide support and guidance as we work collectively to strengthen Fiji’s capacity to and to move from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention.
Hon. Minister for Rural & Maritime Development &
National Disaster Risk Management
- POLICY OBJECTIVES
Govern all aspects of humanitarian response within the national disaster risk management cycle - including preparedness, disaster readiness, disaster risk reduction, emergency response, recovery, rehabilitation, reconstruction, contingency planning, capacity building, education and awareness – and to create links with Fiji’s development and climate change initiatives.
Fulfill the Republic of Fiji’s sovereign and primary responsibility to initiate, organise, coordinate, and implement all aspects of disaster risk management and humanitarian response on its territory;
Strengthen and reinforce national, institutional, community and individual capacity, resilience, self-reliance and inclusiveness over the medium-term and long-term by addressing key thematic priorities;
Coordinate humanitarian response at all government levels through the Fiji Cluster System, with clear stakeholder roles and responsibilities, accountability, monitoring and reporting in accordance with Fiji laws, policies, and nationally applicable standards in the inclusive spirit of partnership;
Establish funding mechanisms are available to strengthen all phases of the national disaster risk management cycle;
Promote Fiji as a leader in Disaster Risk Management in the Pacific Island Region.
2.0 GUIDING PRINCIPLES
The Policy aligns with national laws, policies, guidelines, and international commitments including the following:
- Fiji Constitution, and the Bill of Rights contained therein;
- National Disaster Management Act 1998 and National Disaster Management Plan 1995 (which will be revised in late 2016 and for which revision this Policy will provide the framework);
- National social welfare policies, including policies on gender, disability, vulnerability, child protection, discrimination, poverty-alleviation;
- National environmental and climate change policies, including A Green Growth Framework for Fiji;
- International obligations and commitments; and
- Other relevant sectoral government policies and guidelines.
3.0 KEY THEMATIC PRIORITIES
The following thematic priorities, identified by the TC Winston National Lessons Learnt, will form the basis of government, cluster and humanitarian stakeholder focus to strength the Fiji Disaster Risk Management system.
- Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance
- Develop Guidelines for the Fiji Cluster System to clarify roles, responsibilities and interactions of organisations providing humanitarian assistance, including the Fiji Government at all levels, the NDMO, national NGOs and faith-based organisations, and communities;
- Establish permanent Cluster Secretariats within Ministries to ensure continuity based on local knowledge and experience throughout the entire DRM cycle, and to align and complement Cluster coordination with government priorities to address DRM, climate change and development objectives;
- Register organisations providing humanitarian assistance and ensure they participate in humanitarian coordination mechanism at the appropriate level;
- Agree Fiji Cluster System Work Plans to identify, fund and implement disaster risk management priorities appropriate to operational modes during the diverse phases of the DRM cycle, and for the complete range of disaster risks (including cyclone, floods, tsunami, drought, and earthquakes), and to create links with development and climate change initiatives;
- Clarify the roles of business, bi-lateral, regional and international organisations in relation to the Fiji Cluster System;
3.2 National Information Management and Communication
- Establish a national DRM data base within the Ministry of Lands (Fiji Lands Department) as the central government repository and public information platform for all DRM data, information and GIS mapping;
- Engage ongoing human resource capacity to analyse information and present reports relevant to assessments, planning and monitoring of DRM and humanitarian coordination;
- Enhance coordination of community messaging and education on DRM and humanitarian assistance through the Communications Cluster;
- Examine and improve national systems to effectively exchange real-time information between NDMO, government at all levels, communities, and clusters for public messaging and community inputs to DRM;
- Devise and implementing systems for conducting joint assessments, monitoring and reporting, and sharing of information and reports through the central government repository.
3.3 Strengthening National and Local Self-Reliance
- Mainstream DRM through all Ministries and expand the pool of specifically qualified national professionals to address the Key Thematic Priorities across the different government levels;
- Promote qualifications in Disaster Risk Management in Fiji’s higher education institutions, and ensure employees in DRM positions are suitably qualified;
- Actively encourage inclusiveness, protection, and empowerment of more vulnerable community members to build their resilience and self-sufficiency;
- Ensure humanitarian standards adopted and applied are specifically relevant to Fiji;
- Ensure reliable early warning systems, contingency planning, infrastructure, supplies and systems are readily available for emergencies;
- Promote the concept of ‘Building National Capacity First’ in all humanitarian assistance and encourage the development of local self-reliance of individuals, communities and institutions.
3.4 Funding, Financial Management and Monitoring
- Ensure dedicated government funding for Key Thematic Priorities to address all phases of the Disaster Risk Management cycle at all government levels;
- Clarify funding options with regional, international and bi-lateral donors to complement the overall aims of the government-led Fiji Cluster System;
- Review disaster response fund mechanism to enhance financial management transparency, accountability and monitoring for all humanitarian donors;
4.0 FIJI CLUSTER SYSTEM
The Fiji Cluster system is envisaged as an on-going government-led system for coordination of national and international humanitarian assistance for all aspects of disaster risk management, and will be incorporated into national legislation. It will complement and enhance other government objectives and initiatives for disaster risk reduction, development and climate change.
An Inter-Cluster mechanism will hold responsibility for overall coordination of nine sectoral clusters. Each Cluster will operate under the leadership of the Permanent Secretary of an appropriate Ministry, and coordinated by a permanent Cluster Officer who is directly responsible to the Permanent Secretary. Funding for Cluster priorities, administration, staff employment and training will be incorporated into and funded under the Annual Corporate Plan.
Roles, responsibilities, and priorities of each Cluster will be determined through wide consultation and government approval. The number of Clusters and their roles may evolve over time as disaster risk management and humanitarian priorities change.
Cluster coordination will apply to all stakeholders providing humanitarian response within the disaster risk management framework, including stakeholders from government, national NGO and Faith-Based Organisations, business, and international organisations.
5.0 DISASTER ASSISTANCE IN THE PACIFIC REGION
The Fiji Government stands ready to collaborate to the best of its capacity with Pacific Island neighbours on any aspect of humanitarian assistance and disaster risk management, and aims to assume a leadership role in DRM within the Pacific Island Region.
This policy will be effective from the date of Cabinet approval.