Putting People First: Area based approaches for better disaster recovery in the Pacific. Fiji, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands Regional Synthesis

Keen, M., Sanderson, D., Osborne, K., Deo, R., Faith, J. and Ride, A.
Publication language
Date published
01 Jan 2021
Australia Pacific Security College
Research, reports and studies
Disaster preparedness, Environment & climate, Urban

Pacific Island Countries (PICs) are at threat of increased frequency and severity of tropical cyclones and floods, fuelled by climate change. At the same time, PICs are rapidly urbanising. This brings many benefits, but also presents new challenges concerning disaster preparedness, protecting often flood prone densely populated settlements, and making critical infrastructure more resilient. Recent successful urban post-disaster recovery experiences globally have highlighted the need for approaches that are locally focused, multisectoral, people-centred and highly participatory. Area-based approaches (ABAs) championed in particular by the Global Shelter Cluster in other parts of the world, embody these criteria, and are quickly gaining traction among humanitarian actors as an effective means of working within urban complexity.

This synthesis report presents findings from research undertaken in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu concerning each country’s urban response to naturally-triggered disasters, and the degree to which key elements of ABAs are in place and are utilised. These elements are: locally focused, people centred response; adaptive processes; multi-sector collaboration and assessment; and reflective practice (Figure 1). The research comprised 40 key informant interviews across the three countries, as well as a review of existing reports and literature. While the focus was on urban areas, the lessons were drawn from nationwide experience.