PRiMO Conference

About the Conference

The Pacific Risk Management ‘Ohana (PRiMO) conference is the premier venue for community leaders interested in protecting Pacific Island communities from natural hazards. Each year, hundreds of participants gather to make connections, learn from each other, discuss ongoing initiatives, and design action plans.

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The diverse group of attendees includes heads of state, representatives from business, nonprofits, and environmental groups, and concerned citizens. Topics range from water quality to disaster management and economic sustainability. This diversity and collaborative focus is what makes PRiMO work. People and organizations must work together if communities are to become more resilient. The action plans must be far reaching if Pacific Island natural resources, quality of life, infrastructure, homes, economic framework, and citizen health and safety are to be preserved. This is a tall task that requires inhabitants of the region to work and learn together. PRiMO provides that opportunity.

PRiMO conferences offer at least 25 different sessions, many led by distinguished leaders and innovators. Field trips and preconference training sessions provide opportunities to increase professional skills and gain firsthand knowledge about active hazard-reduction activities. Participants return to their organizations with new skills, information, ideas, contacts, partners, and perspectives. They leave better equipped to find the creative solutions today's coastal hazard challenges require.

Each conference has a community resilience-focused theme. Attendees are encouraged to submit an abstract, for it is through sharing with one another that we all become stronger!

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2020 Conference

The Pacific Risk Management ‘Ohana (PRiMO) 2020 Conference
March 10 to 13, 2020
Hawaii Convention Center
Honolulu, Hawaii

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2020 Theme: Building a Resilient Pacific

Pacific Islands are not only connected by our ocean geography, ocean resources, and cultures, but also by our shared risks. The impacts of typhoons, tsunamis, rising sea levels, increasing temperatures, and ocean acidification are both local and regional. PRiMO’s 2020 conference is meant to strengthen collective action toward building resilience across the region. We will reflect on our individual and collective ability to recover from and cope with recent impacts. We will explore solutions to better prepare for future events in ways that leverage advances in science and technology and that reflect the culture and values of the Pacific.

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Keynote Speakers

We’re excited to announce our distinguished keynote speakers* for the 2020 Pacific Risk Management ‘Ohana Conference.

*Additional keynote speakers may be added closer to the event.

The Honorable Fiame Naomi Mata‘afa

The Honorable Fiame Naomi Mata‘afa

Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Fiame Naomi Mata‘afa first entered Parliament in 1985 and represents the Lotofaga constituency on Upolu’s South Coast.

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Fiame is the first female deputy prime minister of Samoa. She first joined Cabinet in 1991 as minister of education, sports, and culture. She also served as the minister of women, community, and social development, and in the last parliamentary term, she was the minister of justice and courts administration.

Fiame has represented Samoa in the Executive Boards of UNESCO and Governors of the Commonwealth of Learning. She is currently the chair and pro-chancellor of the University of the South Pacific and the chair of the Eminent Persons’ Advisory Panel (Pacific Leadership Programme) Australia.

Fiame is a member of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa at Lotofaga, Aleipata. 

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Rear Admiral Tim Gallaudet

Rear Admiral Tim Gallaudet, Ph.D., U.S. Navy, Retired

Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Deputy NOAA Administrator

Timothy Gallaudet, Ph.D., was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 5, 2017, as the assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere for the Department of Commerce in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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Gallaudet was previously a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, where his most recent assignment was oceanographer of the Navy and commander of the Navy Meteorology and Oceanography Command. During his 32 years of military service, Gallaudet has had experience in weather and ocean forecasting, hydrographic surveying, developing policy and plans to counter illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, and assessing the national security impacts of climate change. He has led teams of Navy sailors and civilians performing such diverse functions as overseeing aircraft carrier combat operations, planning and conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster response efforts, assisting Navy SEAL teams during high visibility counter-terrorism operations, and developing the Navy’s annual $52 billion information technology, cybersecurity and intelligence budget.

Gallaudet holds a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and master’s and doctoral degrees from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, all in oceanography.

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Rachel Reeves

Rachel Reeves

Author of Mātini

Rachel Reeves is a writer and reporter based in the Cook Islands. She has written about such subjects as the aerospace industry that transformed Los Angeles, the Tokelauan diaspora in Hawaiʻi whose imagined homeland is sinking, and protests against purse seining in the Cook Islands. Her first book, Mātini: The Story of Cyclone Martin, was published in 2015. Reeves has co-created publications about the value of traditional knowledge in the Cook Islands, which were funded by grants from the United Nations Global Environment Facility and UNESCO. Currently a recipient of a grant from Earth Journalism Network, she is writing about seabed mining in the Cook Islands. Reeves has a bachelor’s degree in international studies from the University of California–Santa Barbara and a master’s in English and creative writing from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Lori Peek, Ph.D.

Lori Peek, Ph.D.

Director of the Natural Hazards Center and Professor of Sociology at University of Colorado

Lori Peek, Ph.D., is director of the Natural Hazards Center and professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She studies vulnerable populations in disaster and has conducted field investigations in the aftermaths of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, BP Oil Spill, Christchurch earthquakes, Joplin tornado, Superstorm Sandy, and Hurricane Matthew. Peek is author of Behind the Backlash: Muslim Americans after 9/11, co-editor of Displaced: Life in the Katrina Diaspora, and co-author of Children of Katrina. Peek has received numerous awards for her scholarship, teaching, and service to the broader hazards and disaster community. She is past chair of the American Sociological Association Section on Environment and Technology and is currently the president of the Research Committee on Disasters for the International Sociological Association. She is a board member for the William Averette Anderson Fund, which is dedicated to increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in hazards and disaster research and practice.

Arona Ngari

Arona Ngari

Director, Cook Islands Meteorological Service
Honorable Henry Puna

Honorable Henry Puna

Prime Minister of Cook Islands
Honorable David Panuelo

Honorable David Panuelo

President of the Federated States of Micronesia
Douglas W. Domenech

Douglas W. Domenech

Assistant Secretary of Insular and International Affairs
U.S. Department of the Interior
Dr. Jim Reilly

Dr. Jim Reilly

Director, U.S. Geological Survey
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Full Program

2020 Schedule-In-Brief

Tuesday, March 10, 2020
  8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Pre-Conference Training and Workshops
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
  8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Registration and Breakfast
  9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Opening Protocol, Plenary and Keynote
  10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
  12:00 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch on your own
  1:30 – 3:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
  3:30 – 5:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
  5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Reception
Thursday, March 12, 2020
  8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Registration and Breakfast
  9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Plenary and Keynote
  10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
  12:00 – 1:30 p.m. Awards Lunch
  1:30 – 3:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
  3:30 – 5:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
Friday, March 13, 2020
  8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Registration and Breakfast
  9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Plenary and Keynote Speaker
  11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Closing Protocol
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Registration Open

Early Bird (through February 1, 2020) Regular
Training (Tuesday, March 10) Free with RSVP Free with RSVP
One day (Wednesday March 11 or Thursday March 12) $225 $250
Half day (Friday March 13) $100 $125
Full registration (March 10 to 13) $495 $595
Register Here

Registering for Trainings: Pre-conference trainings on Tuesday, March 10 are free and open to conference attendees and the general public, but participants must RSVP with the training’s host organization no later than February 28, 2020.

For questions on training registration, please contact


2020 PRiMO Pre-Conference Trainings – Tuesday, March 10, 2020

VICTree Gardens: Homegrown Security, The Olohana Foundation
10 a.m. – Noon

The Olohana Foundation is presenting a working session focused on VICTree Gardens, Virtually Interconnected Community Tree Gardens, for producing emergency food for a family of four for 4-6 days in the event of a natural disaster.

Register by sending your name, contact information, and training opportunity to

[PDF flyer]

NDPTC/Hi-DRAW Visualization Tools of Disaster Damage Assessment, National Disaster Preparedness Training Center and Site Tour 360
8 a.m. – Noon

This demonstration and training focuses on the use and application of 360-degree imagery, camera equipment, and Google Street View for disaster damage assessment, as well as introducing the use of the technology to assist in documenting assets for pre- and post-disaster recovery.

Register by sending your name, contact information, and training opportunity to

Coastal Resilience Assessment Stakeholder Workshop for Hawaii, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, NOAA, National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center
1 – 5 p.m.

During this workshop, learn about the Coastal Resilience Assessments and understand how assessment products can be used locally to prioritize management options and develop resilience solutions for Hawaii. Help the project team identify and gather data needed to find open-space areas where implementing nature-based projects will maximize benefits to both human communities and fish and wildlife.

Register by sending your name and contact information to

Coastal Resilience Assessment Factsheet

Training: MGT-460, Planning for Disaster Debris Management, National Disaster Preparedness Training Center
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods can create enormous volumes of debris. This management-level course is designed to enable participants to identify debris management components and the best planning practices using existing plan examples and case studies.

Register here: [PDF flyer]

The Development of Tambrauw as a Conservation District in West Papua; Building Local Initiative Resilience to Adapt Climate Change in Pacific Regions
1 – 5 p.m.

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Ala Moana Hotel
410 Atkinson Drive
Honolulu, Hawaii 96814

A room block for the 2020 PRiMO Conference has been secured at the Ala Moana Hotel, located just across the street from the Hawaii Convention Center. A number of their Waikiki Tower rooms are being held for us at the government rate of $177 per night (plus taxes).

The room block cut-off date is February 18, 2020, 12 p.m., HST. Room requests after the cut-off date are not guaranteed, but the hotel will extend the group rate if there is availability. Please note that the conference is during “Spring Break” and the hotel will fill up quickly.

To book your room, please click below.


Cancellation Policy: No later than 72 hours prior to the date of your arrival. Any cancellations made within the 72 hours will be assessed a one night room and tax penalty.

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2020 Call for Proposals

Call for Session Proposals now closed

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PRiMO Leadership Award

This award acknowledges and celebrates an individual, group, or organization that has demonstrated leadership – with resulting significant and positive impacts – consistent with the vision and mission of PRiMO.

I. Vision – Thriving Pacific Island communities resilient to the impacts of climate change and disasters
II. Mission – Engage regional stakeholders to promote the security and prosperity of Pacific Island communities for future generations.

PRiMO Partnership Award

This award acknowledges and celebrates exemplary collaborative efforts and partnerships comprising individuals, groups, or organizations that have made a significant and positive impact to the vision and mission of PRiMO and reflect its operating principles:

- Meaningful regional context
- Combination of traditional and modern ways
- Transparency and inclusiveness
- Active engagement between service providers and end-users and customers
- Self-generated and shared leadership
- Leveraged resources<
- Alignment with regional, global, international agreements

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