After a two-year lapse, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) convened the 2022 Asia Pacific Ministerial Meeting for Disaster Risk Reduction (APMCDRR) in Brisbane, Australia.
Attended by the Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO), United Nations member states, intergovernmental, international and national organisations and other stakeholder groups, the meeting offered an important opportunity to promote cooperation and coordination on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the region.
The UNDRR and partners acknowledge that as the Asia-Pacific region experiences growth in the frequency and intensity of disasters, investment in reducing the risk of disasters is vital to saving lives and livelihoods, minimising economic loss, and ensuring no one is left behind. Aside from focusing on DRR the 2022 APMCDRR was the primary regional platform for monitoring and promoting the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The SPTO delegation was led by the SPTO Board Chairman and CEO of the Tourism Authority of Kiribati, Petero Manufolau, who was supported by SPTO’s Sustainable Tourism Manager, Christina Leala Gale. The SPTO team were also joined by Fantasha Lockington (President of the Fiji Hotels and Tourism Association) and Dr. Sara Currie (Tourism Specialist – Private Sector Development Initiative) which ensured the inclusion of a range of perspectives relevant to the tourism industry.
In acknowledging the importance of SPTO’s participation, Ms. Gale noted that the tourism side event contributes to achieving the SPTOs Key Priority Area on Sustainable Tourism Planning and Development in the SPTO Strategic Plan 2020 -2024 and Goal 4 of the Pacific Sustainable Tourism Policy Framework (PSTPF) which envisions that by 2030 the Pacific Islands will be empowered by and benefitting from resilient, prosperous, and inclusive tourism.
“With the region slowly emerging from the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event provided an opportunity to showcase the importance of building resilience in the Pacific’s tourism sector” Ms Gale said.
Furthermore, SPTO Board Chairman, Petero Manufolau, highlighted that the Pacific Pavilion was a collaborative and engaging space for learning and sharing Pacific-led resilience actions including a perspective from private sector which the tourism side event was able to provide.
“Disaster impacts do not discriminate. It affects everyone and every sector. Tourism has been devastated by COVID-19 and the only way forward is by working together in making tourism sustainable in the Pacific,” Mr Manufolau said.
The conference was also an important opportunity for countries and stakeholders from the Asia Pacific region to convene and progress key discussions in the lead up to the mid-term review of the Sendai Framework in 2023. The review will focus on the Framework’s progress and commitments in the Asia-Pacific Region.