UNODC Delivers Contact Tracing Training in Response to COVID-19

© iStock/Achisatha Khamsuvan

Suva (Fiji), 18 November 2020 – The current pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions have had a significant impact on the Pacific Island Countries (PICs), as their economy is heavily dependent on the tourism sector.

Tourism is pivotal to poverty alleviation and development across Pacific Island Countries. As such, it also constitutes a key source of employment and income generation. The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt these island nations a double blow: first, a health crisis, followed by an economic one.

In an effort to alleviate the toll this chain of events is taking on PICs, the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office and the Asian Development Bank convened three high level meetings on Multisectoral Support to Safely Reopen Points of Entry into Pacific Island Countries.

The events gathered representatives from 14 Pacific Island countries and territories, as well as several UN agencies and international organisations. The international community pledged their support to Pacific Island countries in helping them overcome the unique set of challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) committed to providing Contact Tracing Training to regional law enforcement agencies. Working in close partnership with the Pacific Island Chiefs of Police (PICP) secretariat and the Pacific Community for Law Enforcement Cooperation (PCLEC), UNODC and its partners developed a curriculum and a training schedule to deliver contact tracing training to law enforcement agencies throughout the region.

The course curriculum covers a broad range of topics relevant to modern law enforcement; dealing with public health emergencies, data analysis, the use of technology to assist contact tracing, community clusters and operational quarantines.

The programme also integrates safeguards to ensure gender-sensitive approaches to quarantine processes, with a focus on teenage females, single mothers, female-headed households, protecting victims of domestic violence during home quarantines, and child safety.

Over the next weeks, virtual trainings are planned for law enforcement agencies throughout several countries, starting with Samoa and followed by Fiji, Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands.

The official launch of the training was held on 10 November at the Police Academy in Suva, Fiji. The virtual event counted with the attendance of Mr. Rusiate Tudravu, Acting Police Commissioner of Fiji, and representatives from the Pacific Island Chiefs of Police (PICP) secretariat as well as the Pacific Community for Law Enforcement Cooperation (PCLEC).

Bennett Foster, Assistant Team Leader of PCLEC, offered their ongoing support, saying that “PCLEC will continue to engage with the UNODC Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP) to support Pacific Policing organisations to further enhance capability development in the Pacific region.”