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News Release November, 13, 2002

The South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) in partnership with the Queensland Department of Emergency Services (QDES) and The Asia Foundation (TAF) have developed a new Community Risk Management Training Course for the Pacific, which will be delivered for the first time in Fiji.

This course will support the introduction of Comprehensive Hazard and Risk Management or CHARM, which was also developed in partnership with Queensland and is being implemented through stakeholder workshops in a number of Pacific Island Countries. CHARM is a risk management tool that enhances national decision-making processes for the identification and analysis of all hazards and risks that can impact on vulnerable communities.

The need for a comprehensive approach to disaster reduction and risk management In the Pacific is being driven by the knowledge that the region is acknowledged as being among the threatened in the world, with the continuing presence of natural hazards. Whilst the threats presented by these hazards may be seasonal or differ from country to country in respect to types, frequency or intensity, no country is immune to their devastating impacts.

The current global focus towards mitigation and preparedness measures developed through a risk management approach will lead to the development of more sustainable communities and the reduction of economic and social disruption following natural disasters.

SOPAC will launch the pilot of its new course "Managing Community Risk", on Monday 25 November 2002, at 8.30 am, at the PIMD Conference room, USP Campus.

The course aims to provide participants with broad skills in the application of risk management practices and to enable them to apply this within the context of improving community resilience towards sustainable development.

The pilot will be attended by Fiji Nationals who are involved in disaster reduction or risk management activities. Representatives of the following agencies and organizations will participate; government departments, national disaster management office, Non-Government Organisations, private industry and training institutions. Regional input will be provided by National Disaster Management Officers (NDMOs) from the Cook Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. Course facilitators will be comprised of staff from the SOPAC Secretariat and Queensland Department of Emergency Services, Brisbane.

The course has been designed so that that it can eventually lead to an accredited university qualification.

Once the course has been piloted in Fiji it will then be taken to other Pacific Island Countries where it is anticipated that it will eventually be integrated into national training institutions.

The course will address the following issues:

For further information relating to the course please contact: Dawn Tuiloma - Paleso‘o Professional Development Programme Manager SOPAC Tel: 338 1377 Fax: 337 0040

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