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PRESS RELEASE

New Project to Help Approximately 79,000 people in rural communities in Solomon Islands to mitigate and manage the risks of natural hazards and climate change

March 6, 2014

World Bank Board Approves US$9.1 million for Community Resilience to Climate Change and Disaster Risk in Solomon Islands Project

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 6, 2014 – Today, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a new project to help rural communities in Solomon Islands to mitigate and manage the risks of natural hazards and climate change.

The Community Resilience to Climate Change and Disaster Risk in Solomon Islands Project (CRISP) is funded through a US$7.3 million grant from the Global Environment Facility for Least Developing Countries, with a further US$1.8 million from the Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery Grant/ EU- Asian, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Program.

The project aims to address natural hazards and climate change risks by strengthening climate and disaster risk information and early warning systems, and direct community investments in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

It will also help integrate climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in government policies and operations.

Beneficiaries will be in up to four provinces, primarily in rural areas, and will total approximately 79,000 people over the five year implementation period.

The country is situated on the Pacific ring of fire and is amongst the 20 countries with the highest economic risk exposure to geological, hydrological and climatic hazards that include tropical cyclones, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, floods and droughts.

Solomon Islands has had seven major disasters in the last 30 years, including the 2007 8.1 magnitude earthquake and tsunami which claimed more than 50 lives, and the Santa Cruz earthquake and resulting tsunami in February 2013. Through the CRISP, Solomon Islanders living in communities that are exposed to natural hazards and climate change impacts are better prepared to avoid and manage the impact of those risks,” said Denis Jordy, the World Bank Task Team Leader for the project.

Modeling from the Pacific Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI) suggests that due to natural hazards and climate change, Solomon Islands is likely to suffer an average direct loss of over US$20 million per year, equivalent to 3% of GDP.

Based on the same modeling, the country has a 50% chance of experiencing an event causing loses in hundreds of millions of dollars, and casualties larger than 1,650 people.

Climate and disaster risks strongly affect people’s well-being in terms of health, environmental sustainability, gender equality, livelihoods and access to education. Poorer people are impacted to a greater degree following a disaster, as they are less likely to have insurance, cash reserves and alternative income sources that provide the mechanisms to recover quickly.

The World Bank is happy to work with the government and people of Solomon Islands, and the contributing donors to address the risks of climate change and natural hazards which are very real to thousands of people who live on small, remote islands and atolls in the country,” Mr. Jordy added.

Component A of the project will assist sector Ministries and the Provincial Governments, to mainstream DRM and CCA in sector planning and investments.

Component B will establish a volcanic-seismic monitoring network, and the foundations of a national risk information system that will be critical to assess disaster and climate change effects for sectors and investment planning.

Component C will support both structural and non-structural disaster risk and adaptation investments at the community and provincial level. It will be implemented in collaboration with the Rural Development Program (RDP) and the Provincial Governments of the target Provinces.

The project is to be implemented over six years by the Solomon Islands Government, through the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Risk Management and Meteorology. It complements the existing Increasing Resilience to Climate Change and Natural Hazards Project, which is funded through a US$2.7 million grant from the Japan Pacific Human Resource Development Trust Fund.

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PRESS RELEASE NO:
2014/352/EAP