Islamabad—Regional Consultative Committee (RCC) on Disaster Management, Tuesday, cautioned against low spending in Disaster Risk Reduction could higher cost to provide humanitarian relief. The committee called for more investment in flood protection, earthquake resilience, drought mitigation, food security, agriculture, climate change adaptation, water and ecosystem conservation.
World Disaster Report, 2016 has also warned countries to invest more before a catastrophe occurs rather than being forced to spend an enormous amount of money afterward. Data shows that up to two-third of total international aid expenditure is devoted to emergencies with a little amount invested in risk reduction.
On the second day of the 13th RCC meeting, experts discussed the challenges and options for implementing the global frameworks including the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Sustainable Development Goals, and the Sendai Framework for DRR.
They identified the creation of linkages between these frameworks is not an easy task and that some concerted efforts are needed to overcome the challenge, drawing commonalities and adopting focused approach. Major General Asghar Nawaz, Chairman NDMA recommended that a comprehensive monitoring tool must be developed that countries could use at macro level for the effective monitoring and implementation of the three frameworks.
Dr. Peeranan Towashiraporn, Director of ADPC, Thailand said the countries need to enhance risk assessment and information management mechanisms given the risk situation in the region. He stated that Asia-Pacific is the most vulnerable region to disasters. “More than 5,000 disasters have hit this region since 1970, which killed more than two billion people and effected the lives of over six billion,” he said.
“In the recent past, Indian Ocean Tsunami took the lives of 230,000 people in 14 countries in 2004. Kashmir earthquake killed over 74,000 people in Pakistan in 2005, and Cyclone Nargis killed 1,38,000 people in Myanmar in 2008,” Dr. Peeranan stated and urged the committee to commit to learning a lesson from the history of disasters in this region to work on preventing such losses in future in RCC countries.
Even though most of the Asian countries have disaster risk reduction policies and plans, funding is often not available to avoid emergencies. The participants agreed that disasters are not isolated events. No country can mitigate the cause of natural hazards alone as a disaster in one country disrupts the lives of those living far away.
The RCC delegates also stressed for more regional collaboration on disaster management. Regional mechanism of cooperation such as South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN, Heart of Asia, Regional Consultative Committee and other formal and informal forums are critical to facilitate the implementation of disaster reduction and climate change adaptation related global frameworks.