Pak committed to global disaster risk reduction frameworks, policies: Ahsan


13th RCC on Disaster Management kicks off

Mian Arshad

Islamabad—Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Professor Ahsan Iqbal said that Pakistan being one of the most experienced countries in coping with hazards has played her key role in global discussions and formulation of policies, plans and frameworks at regional and international levels for disaster risk reduction. He stated this while addressing the Inaugural Session of 13th Annual Meeting of the Regional Consultative Committee (RCC) on Disaster Management here on Monday.
13th Annual Meeting of Regional Consultative Committee (RCC) on Disaster Management has kicked off here on Monday. This is the first time Pakistan is hosting this Event since the inception of the Forum in 2000. Delegates and representatives from sixteen members alongside International observers from non-member states are attending the meeting. Three days of the Meeting from 17th–19th October is divided over different sessions to deliberate upon the main theme “Operationalizing Global Frameworks for Risk Resilient Development in Asia” to assess to how the global and regional frameworks for disaster mitigation can be best translated into practice, keeping local needs and perspective in view.
In his speech Minister for Planning observed that Asia is greatly vulnerable to the negative impacts of both geological hazard and climate change phenomena. He, therefore, emphasized the need for enhanced partnerships for sustainable developments, sharing of knowledge, expertise and technology for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly for developing countries. While reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to Disaster Risks Reduction, Minister Ahsan Iqbal said, “Realizing the nature of close linkages between disaster and development efforts, the Government of Pakistan under its Vision 2025 has embarked upon developing strategies to reduce vulnerabilities to disasters”. Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal said that tackling natural disasters has to be bigger and larger than any politics because protecting human lives and our plant is the highest and finest level of politics and economy. ‘’ Rapid population growth, unbridled, ill planed urbanization, non resilient building infrastructure , lack of awareness and irresponsible development are those overriding challenges which are accentuating disaster risks’’ , he added .
Ahsan Iqbal said that Disaster Risk Reduction is a cross cutting subject and there is dire need to make disaster risk management a development practice to achieve resilient public investment .He further added that we need to enhance partnership for sustainable developments that mobilize and share knowledge expertise , technology for achieving SDGs particularly for developing countries .He urged participants to put forth a united front against challenges of climate change with solid, practical and action oriented recommendations.
Earlier in his welcome address, Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Major General Asghar Nawaz was categorical in asserting Pakistan’s commitment towards implementation of Global Frameworks and supporting all initiatives to save humanity. He said that Sendai Frame Work provides the vision for “risk sensitive development as corner stone for sustainability”. He went on to regard Paris Climate Change Agreement as a hope for climatically safer world in future, especially for countries of Asian Pacific Region which are at forefront of vulnerability.
Prof. Dr. Krasae Chanawongse, Chairman Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC), Stephan Huppertz, Region Coordinator Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management, Kim DeRidder, Director, Environment Program, the Asia Foundation and Javeria Afzal, Associate Country Director, OXFAM Pakistan also addressed the inaugural session of the meeting. Later speaking in an interactive session exclusively with Pakistan Observer, APDC delegates declared meeting as a warm up for the upcoming Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction scheduled to be held in New Delhi in next month.
Dr. Bhichit Rattakul, Prof. Dr. Krasae Chanawongse, Bill Hu and others considered meeting as a success in the wake of such a large international participation when voices of diplomatic isolation were echoed by some quarters. The practical and objective structure and format of discourse would act as a comprehensive input.
They observed that meeting would bring out tangible action oriented outputs which will act as a comprehensive input for AMCDRR because the delegates were found much impressed by the arrangements and format of the Meeting. “The sub-theme for the first day of the Meeting was Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, Implementation Efforts, Challenges and Opportunities. The participants held threadbare discussion in their presentations and plenary discussions. This also afforded Pakistan an opportunity to present its Disaster Risk Management status Report which was applauded by all” Dr Rattakul added. He said that the Meeting would conclude with a joint statement from all the participating countries on reducing disaster risks in Asia Pacific Region through collective efforts.
He hoped that RCC meeting would offer an opportunity to the member countries to devise collective actions for implementing Global frameworks in a bid to save people lives and properties in the face of climate change phenomenon that threatens to affect development efforts of Asian economies. “The RCC will discuss opportunities and challenges for implementing at national and regional scale the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Climate Change Agreement” he maintained. Prof. Dr. Krasae Chanawongse said that RCC was made up of 26 member countries that serve as an informal consultative mechanism on disaster risk reduction in the Asia Pacific Region.
“ADPC, acting as the Secretariat since the Committee’s inception in 2000, will facilitate the Meeting and findings of the Meeting shall pave the way to shape the direction of future programs at regional level” he maintained. He said that meeting of such a large scale of foreign delegates including SAARC Countries was considered a diplomatic success as well as recognition of Pakistan’s stature and commitment to global framework and humanitarian cause. It is pertinent to note here that participating countries in the RCC include China, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Mongolia, Philippines, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan. Besides that delegates from Denmark, USA, Switzerland, Germany and different international organizations are participating as observers.