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Small states better prepared to unlock development assistance for disaster resilience

26 March 2019

Officials from small states have completed specially-designed training aimed at strengthening their skills in disaster risk financing. 

The Commonwealth has 31 small states which are among the world’s most disaster-prone regions. They are heavily exposed to hurricanes, cyclones, landslides, storms and flooding, all capable of disrupting economic growth, financial stability and efforts to fight poverty. 

The two-day session in Samoa on disaster finance and disaster risk management was the first such activity delivered by the Commonwealth in partnership with the World Bank.

Officials familiarised themselves with financial protection instruments through a simulated learning experience. They also learned about financial tools such as cutting-edge insurance mechanisms that their governments can access for disaster preparedness, response and recovery.  

Opening the training, Peseta Noumea Simi, chief executive officer of Samoa’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, welcomed the officials from 23 Commonwealth small states to her country and wished them “fruitful deliberations”.

The training covered a range of areas to support pre-disaster planning and post-disaster relief, such as:

  • the principles of disaster risk finance;
  • disaster risk management strategy;
  • tools and instruments for disaster risk finance; and
  • data analytics for disaster risk.

Speaking at the training, Travis Mitchell, Head of Economic Policy and Small States at the Commonwealth, said: "I hope the knowledge gained from this important training can be replicated and shared among all our member countries because this capacity building is crucial for small states’ future survival.”   

Branessa Tsiode, attending from Nauru, said: “The training simplified the processes placed by donor agencies. Small states’ officials are now able to unlock the development assistance more swiftly.”

The training is part of the fifth Global Biennial Conference on Small States which officially opens on Wednesday in Apia, Samoa. The conference puts small states in direct contact with the latest disaster risk reduction innovations and finance products through presentations, networking and discussions.

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