CLGF Pacific Partnership with Australian Volunteers Programme
03 May 2022
CLGF Pacific has recently restored its partnership with the Australian Volunteers Programme (AVP) with the appointment of two short-term volunteers to work with the Pacific Partnership on the New Urban Agenda, of which CLGF Pacific is the Secretariat.
Supporting Pacific countries
AVP is an Australian Government-funded initiative that supports partner organisations operating across 26 countries to achieve locally-led change and the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The programme fosters strong, mutual relationships between Australia and people and communities to contribute to achieving equitable development outcomes through matching skilled Australians to volunteer with partner organisations to help build local capacity.
The Pacific Partnership on the New Urban Agenda (PP-NUA) aims to help accelerate the implementation of actions arising from the Pacific Urban Forum and the Pacific New Urban Agenda by supporting the countries of the region to achieve sustainable urban development. It seeks to rally implementing partners, to mobilise resources for regional and cross country learning and development across different sectors to achieve better integration and synergies. Partner organisations include UN Habitat, UN ESCAP, CLGF Pacific, ICLEI Oceania, EAROPH Australia, Compass Housing Services, Monash University Sustainable Development Institute and University of Melbourne Centre for Cities.
CLGF Pacific has, in the past, hosted AVP volunteers in projects in Honiara, Solomon Islands, and Port Vila, Vanuatu. Due to COVID-19 it has not been possible for AVP to arrange in-country volunteers. Alternatively, a system of short-term Remote Volunteering was instituted.
CLGF Pacific and PP-NUA benefited from the services of two such Remote Volunteers, Owen Smith and Farooq Afzal, both in the position of Sustainable Urbanisation Adviser. Owen, a civil engineer by profession, provided significant inputs to the PP-NUA workplan development, research and support to partner organisations particularly around infrastructure and designed the new PP-NUA website. Farooq, who is an urban planner, focused on improving building codes including research on global best practices in development and application of building codes, and recommendations on key areas of building regulation reform relevant to Pacific Island countries. He also provided technical advice in other aspects of sustainable urbanisation as a member of the PP-NUA Technical Working Group.
Gaining more than giving
Owen, who grew up in Fiji, found his experience as a Remote Volunteer very rewarding. He said: "It may sound like a cliché but I found that I gained more from giving than I thought I would. In addition, I gained a sense of achievement given my passion for the work in this space and made some long lasting connections and friendships all over the world."
Terry Parker, CLGF's Technical Adviser in the region said: "CLGF Pacific values its partnership with AVP, particularly in providing opportunities for Australian professionals to gain experience in the Pacific Islands environment and to share their skills with colleagues in the islands and help build local capacity. CLGF looks forward to continuing this partnership into the future."
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