20th November 05:07 PM
Numerous policies and measures in place to cushion the economy from climate shocks - Kubuabola
By Iva Danford
Saturday 09/09/2017
Official Photo of Pacific Forum Leaders at their Retreat at Taumeasina Island Resort, 2017. Photo: Tipi Autagavaia

The Fijian Government has put in place numerous policies and project based measures to cushion the economy from climate shocks after experiences from Tropical Cyclone Winston.

This was highlighted by the Minister for Defense and National Security Ratu Inoke Kubuabola at a panel of  Pacific leaders in Apia, Samoa.

Kubuabola says the government partnering with insurance and engineering stakeholders and the  World Bank are working on developing affordable disaster insurance covers for homes.

He says $1m was allocated in the 2017‑2018 National Budget to have a functional insurance product in time for the next cyclone season from November to April and premiums for low income households will be subsidized.

Speaking on the theme the Blue Pacific as a Pathway for Resilient Development Kubuabola says government was working with Fiji's Reserve Bank to introduce crop insurance for sugar and non‑sugar agricultural commodities.

He says over 30,000 houses, 495 schools and 88 health clinics and medical facilities were damaged or destroyed during Cyclone Winston.

Kubuabola says government, with technical advice of the Fiji Council of Engineers, increased the building code from Category 2 cyclone resilience to Category 4 resilience.

He says this will minimize future damage to hard assets and instils the concept of 'building back better.

The Minister says their project based measures incorporates intricate drainage systems to prevent road flooding, surface‑tear and traction loss and similarly, Telecom Fiji Limited is on the verge of completing a telecommunication cable ring around Viti Levu, through underground trenching of its cables.

He says Fiji is now moving to building flood proof infrastructure especially in Nadi and is also undertaking much needed relocation of communities at risk to inundation due to sea level rise.

Kubuabola says government has relocated a coastal community, Vunidogoloa and plans to relocate 42 more.

He says the global stage is now set for building on this architecture noting that more work needs to be done to practically link the sensitivities of resilience and climate change in the negotiation process.  

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