Summary by Jennifer Day, The University of Melbourne (and co-organisers)
Network Aims: APCUS-SP aims to generate collaboration between academics and practitioners during the acute phases of humanitarian response fore cities in the South Pacific, and also in the less-acute planning
Lifespan: APCUS-SP started in May 2018, and though we are wrapping up funded activities, but our network continues to function and generate outcomes for its members.
Dissemination Platforms. APCUS-SP operates across two platforms:
- A University of Melbourne mail list
- A Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/APCUS ).
Workshops and Community Events. The network has held the following events, including:
- 29 May 2018, Melbourne, Australia: Inception Workshop at the University of Melbourne.
- 04 July 2018, Suva, Fiji: Joint inception workshop hosted with the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), attended by people from ten South-Pacific countries.
- 20 October 2018, Port Vila, Vanuatu: Inception workshop attended by members of the communities, civil society, NGOs, and government in Vanuatu.
- 21 June 2019, Port Vila, Vanuatu: Chitra Massey, Regional Representative for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, visits the Elang Etas Community in Port Vila to deliver a human-rights training.
- 11 July 2019, Port Vila, Vanuatu: Robert Vaughan, Officer of the Regional Representative for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, visits the Elang Etas Community in Port Vila to deliver a human-rights training.
- 13 July 2019, Port Vila, Vanuatu: Community data-collection workshop with the New Caledonia-based NGO, Ecosophy.
- 26 September 2019, Melbourne, Australia: Ari Perdana from the Asian Development Bank visits the University of Melbourne to discuss development careers with students and community members.
Conferences and Dissemination Events. APCUS-SP members and partners have participated in a number of conference and speaking events designed to raise the profile of APCUS-SP and generate partnership. Some include:
- Pacific Update, July 2018, Suva, Fiji. APCUS-SP members Mohammed Zair (Government of Fiji) and Jennifer Day (organiser) presented on community planning and gender at the Pacific Update conference.
- The Urban Resilience Asia-Pacific (URAP) Conferences, 2018 and 2020. Multiple APCUS members attended to speak about the network and its impacts.
- Pacific Urban Forum, 2019, Suva, Fiji. APCUS-SP members attended the Pacific Urban Forum to speak in a special session on belonging in urban areas. Session speakers at the PUF were Hon. Renata Netaf (former Deputy Mayor of Luganville, Vanuatu), Leith Veremaito (Vanuatu Office of Internal Affairs) and Anne Pakoa (Vanuatu Human Rights Coalition).
Collaborations with Other Networks. Collaborations with other networks and initiatives include:
- The Urban Community of Practice (UrbanCoP) led by Leanne Marshall at the Australian Red Cross and the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID)
- DisasterReady (disasterready.org).
Academic Collaborations. A number of academic collaborations have resulted in academic-academic and academic-practitioner collaborations. For instance:
- APCUS member Assoc. Prof. Ifte Ahmed and Mr. Ted McDonnel, Vanuatu Department of Public Works, have collaborated to generate an evaluation of indigenous roofing practices after Tropical Cyclone Harold in Vanuatu in 2020 (https://www.preventionweb.net/news/view/71510; see acknowledgements).
- APCUS founding members Jennifer Day and Tom Bamforth published a book chapter together: Day, J., Bamforth, T. (2020). ‘This is our garden now’: disasters and belonging in an urban Pacific. In (eds) Sanderson, D. and Bruce, L. Urban Disaster Resilience in the Asia-Pacific,Routledge: New York.
Humanitarian Response. APCUS members have collaborated and shared information during the acute responses of the Ambae volcanic evacuation (Vanuatu 2017 and 2018), Tropical Cyclone Gita (Fiji, 2019), and Tropical Cyclone Harold (Vanuatu, 2020). In Tropical Cyclone Harold in 2020, for instance, APCUS members who were pilots flying over the affected sites, provided the first photographs of the devastated areas to the Vanuatu Shelter Cluster and the Government of Vanuatu. These photographs helped to target assistance to areas where communications were down.
Urbanisation and Politics. In part because of APCUS’ efforts, urban issues have found their way into political discussions in the Pacific. Subsequently from our work at the Pacific Urban Forum, the importance of belonging in urban areas was discussed by the Fiji Prime Minister Hon. J.V. Bainimarama in his remarks at the Asia-Pacific Urban Forum in Penang, Malaysia. Session speakers at the PUF were Hon. Renata Netaf (former Deputy Mayor of Luganville, Vanuatu), Leith Veremaito (Vanuatu Office of Internal Affairs) and Anne Pakoa (Vanuatu Human Rights Coalition).