The of Head of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (U.N.E.S.C.A.P) Pacific Office has reemphasised the importance of the 39th Annual Meeting of the Association of Development Financing Institutions for Asia and the Pacific (A.D.F.I.A.P).
Held at the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel in Apia this week, the meeting brought more than a 100 delegates from around the world.
As one of the guest speakers, Lavea Iosefa Maiava, said the meeting was critical in terms of bringing the financial institutions together.
“All these financial institutions from all over Asia Pacific were talking and discussing the significant role they play in addressing climate change,” he said.
“The role of financial institutions in addressing climate hasn’t really been a major focus of the discussion around the Pacific.
“But this meeting has really put a spotlight on the role these financial institutions can do in financing projects that support sustainable developments and improve the resilience of our environment and of our people when they face natural disasters.”
Lavea highlighted that financial institutions play a vital role when it comes to climate change resilience.
“The big issue with climate change is natural disasters, most of which are induced by changes in the climate,” he said.
Such disasters not only affect people and the environment, they also have a huge impact on the economy of the Pacific countries.
“So again, that’s the significant role these financial institutions play.They can help lessen the impact natural disasters have on our people and community.
“For example, the need of insuring the infrastructures, the assets and the businesses that could be greatly affected as a result of natural disaster.
“Moreover, financing the different kind of projects that can help people and communities recover quickly from the impact of natural disasters.”
Away from finances, Lavea said one of the issues that must be looked at is the impact on people psychologically.
“We deal a lot with physical environment and infrastructures but we don’t spend enough time dealing with the impacts of natural disasters on people psychologically and socially,” he said.
“That was something that came up, after observing the impacts of natural disasters which had recently affected our neighbouring countries, like Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu and Cyclone Winston in Fiji.
“It has demonstrated that it is very important to know how to deal with the psychological impacts of natural disasters on our people.
“And as mentioned before, I think the important thing we can take out from this meeting is how the financial institutions can help our communities in insuring our assets, funding sustainable developments projects and initiatives but most importantly, helping our people to recover from the impacts of natural disasters.”
For most of the delegates, the networking created was the greatest achievement of the meeting.
At the farewell dinner on Wednesday night, the Chairman of A.D.F.I.A.P, Arjun Fernando congratulated the bravery of the hosts in taking up such a difficult task.
“Susana and Rula convinced us to bring the meeting here by showing us the videos of your beautiful country. The videos were amazing, but not as amazing as being here and the experience we got ever since we arrived.
“And I am sure my colleagues will join me in thanking the government of Samoa and especially the three ladies for welcoming us here in your country and for making us feel at home.
“I think the most interesting thing about this country is the genuineness of the people of Samoa when serving. You see everyone smiling and people smile from their heart. And I think that is a memory we will be taking back with us. So fa’afetai lava to the people of Samoa.”