Analysis of training and disaster response in the pacific
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Analysis of training and disaster response in the pacific

Analysis of Training andDisaster Responsein the Pacific

Objective of the study
Objective of the study

To provide guidance and recommendations for future training and capacity development initiatives and strategies by Pacific Island Countries, humanitarian and development organizations and donor partners in disaster response.


December 2010 to April 2011: field research and draft report writing

August 2011: feedback on draft from regional partners

October 2011: PHT

Final report October/November


Literature review


Key informant interviews



Few “impact” and “sector” evaluations, no “system” evaluations

Therefore focus on gaps in Pacific disaster response and “reverse engineering”: what do we need to do to ensure an appropriate response?

But: all is linked so how to define “the system” or overall capacity?


Training: the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies.

A skill is the learned capacity to carry out pre-determined results

Competence (or competency) is the ability of an individual to perform a job properly


Professional development refers to skills and knowledge attained for both personal development and career advancement. It encompasses all types of facilitated learning opportunities, ranging from college degrees to formal coursework, conferences and informal learning opportunities situated in practice. It has been described as intensive and collaborative, ideally incorporating an evaluative stage. In a broad sense, professional development may include formal types of vocational education, typically post-secondary or poly-technical training leading to qualification or credential required to obtain or retain employment.


Capacity development is the process of strengthening the abilities of individuals, organizations and societies to make effective use of the resources, in order to achieve their own goals on a sustainable basis.

Some common elements

- Capacity development is a process of change, and hence is about managing transformations.

- There can be short term results, but even these must be supported by a sustained resources and political commitment to yield longer term results.

- Capacity development takes place at 3 levels: individual, organizational and societal. These levels are interlinked and interdependent. An investment in capacity development must design and account for impact at these multiple levels.

Findings and recommendations
Findings and recommendations

Considerable time, effort resources for disaster response training & research, which gives a strong base and is often still valid

In all countries NDMO seen as operational management leader

Different agencies have great knowledge and experience in training and response

Surge in confidence disaster managers

Conclusion 1 disaster management training is a development issue
Conclusion 1: Disaster Management Training is a development issue


(1) Recognize that developing capacity is a long term process that requires a strategic and programmatic approach -> capacity development

All organizations should understand that this is a long term developmental process and be prepared to be genuinely involved over the long term, engaging in a commonly agreed upon strategy that is led by the national Disaster Management Authority and supported by national and international partners

(2) Disaster management as a recognized profession -> professional dev.

PIC governments and development partners should identify or explore the development of an appropriate course of study by a recognized (Pacific) tertiary institution and provide scholarships for selected Pacific Island individuals to undertake such a course of study.

Conclusion 2 government leads national and international partners support
Conclusion 2: issueGovernment leads, national and international partners support


(3) Reinforce government as the lead agency

All agencies which work in disaster response must genuinely recognize that the leading agency is the government of that country and should, in any training which they undertake, work towards obtaining that ultimate goal.

Conclusion 3 coordinated training
Conclusion 3: Coordinated Training issue


(5) Develop a long term training plan for each country with a programmatic approach

A long term disaster management capacity development and training plan must be developed by each country, led by the NDMA and supported by national and international partners. All initiatives should be aligned with this plan and contribute to the overall strengthening of the DM systemin a country.

Training should be based on relevant disaster risk analysis and scenarios and agreed and owned by all relevant disaster management partners based on (and informing) up-to-date, robust and relevant SOPs and disaster management plans.

Conclusion 4 methods of training
Conclusion 4: Methods of Training issue


(6) Conduct inter-agency simulation exercises

Greater emphasis should be placed on simulation exercises and training that include all relevant agencies in country, that are professionally run, and that have a rigorous feedback and appraisal mechanism. Again, NDMO should take a leading and pivotal role supported by national and international partners. Creating a challenging simulation exercise, involving all relevant agencies, will help increase learning in a realistic way, as well as aid in coordination training.

(7) Develop leadership and managerial skills

As part of the long term professional development of disaster response personnel, there should be greater emphasis on developing leadership, managerial, and humanitarian coordination skills and that a relevant course is developed and offered to Pacific disaster management coordinators.

Conclusion 4 methods of training cont d
Conclusion 4: Methods of issueTraining (cont’d)


(8) Encourage training mentors and first-hand experience exchange

Experienced National Disaster Management Officers should be invited as training mentors for their colleagues in other Pacific Island countries. Existing opportunities, such as the use of the SOPAC facility for this purpose should be explored.

(9) Standardize management systems in the Pacific

That various models of Incident Management Systems appropriate to the Pacific setting be explored with the view to having a standardized system across the Pacific. Appropriate training should go concurrently for appropriate staff with this initiative.

Conclusion 4 methods of training cont d1
Conclusion 4: Methods of issueTraining (cont’d)

(10) Ensure ‘lessons learnt’ are shared

Following a (significant) disaster, an independent appraisal in the form of a ‘lessons learnt’ workshop or evaluation of the overall response operation should occur and other disaster response personnel from the region should be involved.

Conclusion 5 assessments and needs analysis
Conclusion 5: Assessments and Needs Analysis issue


(11) Develop a needs assessment process

Development of a model of needs assessment process based on lessons learnt from recent humanitarian emergencies and developments in the humanitarian community (including methodologies, forms, agreed phasing of assessments during the emergency and expected outputs from each phase).Owned by the national (and regional) actors and support the decision making process within the NDMO and the Ministries and Agencies.

(12) Provide training in assessment techniques and methodologies

(13) Support Training of Trainers

Conclusion 6 the cluster system in the pacific
Conclusion 6: The Cluster System in the Pacific issue


(14) Explain the PHT and IASC Cluster System in the Pacific

A concerted effort through joint training, contingency planning and awareness raising should be made to address the confusion that exists concerning the role and modus operandi of the Pacific Humanitarian Team and the IASC Cluster System in the Pacific by OCHA and relevant cluster lead agencies (UNICEF, WHO, IFRC, UNDP, OHCHR, UNHCR, Save the Children, WFP, FAO), particularly viz-a-viz national coordination structures..

(15) Appoint a full time position designated to each Lead Cluster agency

A full time position for each (Pacific) cluster lead be appointed so hat each Lead Cluster agency can take a more proactive role in preparedness and the training of the specific skills in disaster response pertaining to that cluster.