It’s become clear that a focus on Asset Management across the South Pacific is critical. Climate change, and the resultant rising sea levels and frequent and aggressive storms, is causing increased flooding and devastation across the region.
Through Technical Assistance programmes, USAID Climate Ready and Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) are working with a mutual partner, the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia New Zealand (IPWEA NZ) in the South Pacific to build Asset Management capabilities, and with it an understanding of related climate adaptation issues.
USAID Climate Ready and the LGNZ PacificTA have been collaborating with IPWEA NZ to upskill asset management and infrastructure professionals through accredited courses delivered throughout the region.
IPWEA NZ launched its Asset Management digital badge framework in September 2019. Designed to address the skills shortage in Asset Management in New Zealand, the programme has since been picked up across the globe as a cost-effective and efficient way to improve Asset Management practices.
The digital badges are completed fully online at the learners’ pace and offer a good solution to raising capability around the Pacific without sending trainers. This has meant that many more Asset Managers have completed training than had originally been anticipated.
With USAID Climate Ready, IPWEA NZ has been rolling out training in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, PNG, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Palau and Federated States of Micronesia.
In Fiji, LGNZ has been working with the Suva City Council, through IPWEA NZ consultants to register its council-owned assets, specifically the municipal parks and reserve areas and buildings. The LGNZ PacificTA programme is also providing access to this training to the Cook Islands and Tokelau.
Now, USAID Climate Ready, Suva City Council, LGNZ and IPWEA NZ have joined forces to support the Suva City Council through asset management training and provision of technical assistance to develop a climate and disaster resilient Asset Management Strategy for the Council. This strategic partnership will support efforts to improve asset management practices and mainstream climate resilience into plans for the Suva municipality.
An opportunity to meet
After several years of covid-related travel restrictions, the lead of LGNZ, Frances Sullivan, and team members of USAID Climate Ready, including the Chief of Party Trevor Ole and the Capacity Building and Partnership Manager Jerry Cole, recently met in Suva, Fiji, to further the discussion on improving asset management competencies.
”I appreciate how IPWEA NZ has been able to incorporate climate change into their online courses and make them more relevant to the small Pacific Island countries which are facing the impacts of climate change right now,” said Trevor.
Frances added, “Our Pacific Island partners are very appreciative of having the opportunity to learn about asset management through the IPWEA NZ online badges. It is evident that the opportunity for online training has significantly extended the reach of asset management capability across Pacific Island countries.”
Together, LGNZ, USAID Climate Ready and IPWEA NZ are working to create resilient and sustainable communities through improved public asset management practices and competencies across the region.