Expressing concern over approx. Rs20 billion losses that Pakistan has suffered over the last few years, affecting more than 30 million people Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar, Monday, stressed the need for setting up sustainable financing system to fund the risk reduction and mitigation activities in the country.
In this regard, she urged National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) to mainstream its efforts for a coherent and institutionalized DRM approach among federal, provincial, and local government institutions.
Speaking the launching ceremony of NDRMF, she appreciated the development partners specially the ADB, for their vital role in this strategic initiative as well as it as a first concrete step towards making Pakistan resilient, against natural disasters and climate change impacts.
The initial financing of NDRMF is through an ADB loan to the GoP, equivalent to $200.0 million and grants equivalent to $3.4 million and $1.5 million from Australian and Swiss Governments, respectively.
The Government has made these funds available to NDRMF as a grant, for on-granting to eligible implementing partners both from public and private sectors. NDRMF will finance up to 70% of eligible projects cost that shall enhance Pakistan’s resilience to extreme weather events and other natural hazards.
The government has been working with number of development partners to identify opportunities and mechanism to enhance financial management of disaster risk. These initiatives resulted in establishment of multi donor NDRMF.
It is a government-owned not-for-profit company with a corporate structure, incorporated with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, under Section 42 of the Companies Ordinance 1984.
The fund will also provide support in reducing the socio-economic and fiscal vulnerability of the country & its population due to natural hazards and climate change. Channelizing financial investments in DRR and preparedness segment of DM will have high positive economic impacts for the country.
Ms. Shamshad reiterated full commitment of GoP to support NDRMF and provision of additional resources to strengthen Fund’s operations to comply with International and National commitments. GoP will also ensure that the Fund carries out its activities in an efficient, transparent and coordinated manner.
She urged NDRMF to mainstream its efforts for a coherent and institutionalized DRM approach among federal, provincial, and local government institutions. She appreciated the development partners specially the ADB, for their vital role in this strategic initiative.
In his welcome address CEO, NDRMF Lt General Nadeem Ahmed (Retd.), gave an overview about fund mandate, operations, thematic areas and fund linkage with National Disaster Management Plan-(NDMP) and National Flood Protection Plan (NFPP-IV). He also briefed the house, about the mechanism devised to sustain the NDRMF operational activities in order to minimize its impact on Government Exchequer.
It is worth mentioning that both NDMP and NFPP-IV were developed by National and International experts to dilute the effects of disasters by strengthening the DRM system and building hazard protection infrastructures. However, due to lack of funding, these plans could not be implemented. Hopefully NDRMF will now provide the requisite funding to ensure effective implementation.
Addressing the ceremony, ADB Country Director Xiaohong Yang lauded Pakistan for its unique capacities with regards to managing diverse range of disasters and called it as potentially the best country in terms of knowledge, regulatory framework and DRM infrastructure to implement this pilot idea. He also gave commitment to provide an additional funding of 1 billion USD for this initiative in years 2020-2030.
On the sideline of the launching event an agreement was also signed between the Embassy of Switzerland in Pakistan and the ADB to support NDRMF. Stefanie Burri, Head of International Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland and Xiaohong Yang, ADB Country Director signed the agreement.
Under this agreement, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) will provide 1.5 million Swiss Francs (equivalent to USD 1.5 million)to the Fund. In addition, the SDC will also provide technical assistance to the Fund through secondment of a Disaster Risk Finance Specialists. Both sides expressed strong resolve for continued support and co-operation towards enhancing resilience of the Country.