Risk Integration Toolkit for Development Planning Comes Under Government Microscope

Government’s Senior Policy Analysts and expenditure from the Department of Strategic Policy and Planning and Aid Coordination (DSPPAC) and those from the Department of Finance have discussed and scrutinized a proposed Risk Screening Toolkit as guide to determine major government development projects.

This was held in a recent training workshop organised by the DSPPAC at Holiday Inn.

The workshop was aimed at initiating implementation of Risk Screening Tool approach by the DSPPAC and the Ministry of Finance for the next planning and budget cycle of 2018/19.

Under the guidance of UNDP Suva Office facilitators, Nicola Glendining,( Resilient Development Advisor) and Lilika Fusimalohi, (Risk-Informed Budgeting Consultant), participants had the opportunity to develop the understanding and use the of the Risk Screening Toolkit to inform sector planning and budgeting process, and how new project proposals are scrutinized to fall in line with Risk Screening Toolkit.

Participants were told that huge aid donor money had been channelled in for Climate Change related projects and that most of the money spent had been geared towards mitigation projects like seawall and other infrastructures, and that there are more aspects of the projects to consider. They were also able to observe how to effectively manage risks by careful consideration of hazard and vulnerability factors.

The workshop has helped participants to the skills for mainstreaming climate change, gender and social inclusion as a cross cutting risk to development.

The Acting Director General (DG) of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), John Ezra in his opening address stressed that the workshop had provided a good opportunity to reflect on Vanuatu’s current processes such as the government Investment Program, New Policy Priorities or sector planning and budgeting processes. “We can then collectively look at how we can strategically fine tune our processes for more risk informed development outcomes.”

Mr Ezra said a lot of disasters stemmed from development choices and that an informed development pathways aggravate our risks to disaster. He said currently disaster events being experienced in country are reminders of the need to do thing in a much more different way rather than business as usual.

The Vanuatu Government, under DSPPAC’s direction, has recently endorsed and launched Vanuatu’s National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP). It is now embarking on the development of an implementation plan via the NSDP M&E Roll-out Strategy.

Climate change and disasters feature under the Environment pillar of the NSDP. At present risks posed by climate change and disasters are not substantively accommodated for in existing development planning or budgeting processes.

Officers from the Treasury Department have also presented an overview of development of MFEM budget tracking activities, while DSPPAC presented an overview of the roll out of the Monitoring and Evaluation Plan for the NSDP in relation to risk screening.

It is anticipated that the risk screening toolkit presented and discussed at the workshop would provide an avenue whereby systematic consideration and analysis of development risks can be undertaken by planners and other focal planners within key sectors/ministries. It will also help widen the already existing framework on the management and reduction of risks posted through natural and manmade disasters.

According to Acting DG/PMO Ezra, similar training workshops will be organised for sector ministries and for provincial councils.

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