Development Account Projects
Improving disaster risk preparedness in the ESCAP region
Disaster loss is on the rise with grave consequences for the survival, dignity and livelihood of individuals, particularly the poor. In one day, the 2004 tsunami increased the proportion of people living in poverty from 30 to 50 per cent in Aceh, Indonesia. Similarly, yearly flooding in the Mekong Delta and droughts in South Asia reduces crop production, leaving millions malnourished. Earthquakes such as those that occurred in Pakistan (2005) and China (2008) leave thousands of children without access to proper schooling. Cyclones have killed and maimed the most vulnerable groups, such as infants and their mothers, and also severely compromised access to basic sanitation and safe water sources.
According to figures by the Centre for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters, the Asia and the Pacific region was hit hardest by disasters, both in terms of economic and social impacts. Disaster risks arise when hazards interact with physical, social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities. This, compounded by increasing vulnerabilities related to changing demographic, socio-economic conditions and other effects, point to a future where disasters could increasingly threaten the region's economy, its populations and the sustainable development of its countries.
In response to these challenges, 168 Governments adopted a 10-year plan in 2005, called the Hyogo Framework of Action to make the world safer from hazards. The plan is a global blueprint for disaster risk reduction efforts during the next decade. Its goal is to substantially reduce disaster losses by 2015. This proposal supports the implementation of the five priority areas within the Hyogo Framework of Action, and thus supports the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, through the technical capacity-building of countries in the development, maintenance and sharing of disaster risk management information, and through the mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction information in national statistical processes.
This project will focus on responding to the following gaps: the lack of a consistent and standardized disaster-related data holding system to facilitate pre-disaster mitigation, preparedness, post-disaster assessment, and recovery planning; the need for consistent development of an information baseline for broad disaster prevention and risk reduction efforts; the need for networking of key development and technical stakeholders in disaster risk reduction in the Asia-Pacific region for sharing of information, knowledge and resources; and the need to link and support data collection through national statistics processes, such as the 2010 Round of Population and Housing Censuses.
This project aims to tap into a diverse range of communities that have accumulated expertise in disaster preparedness, to strengthen disaster-related cooperation and networking, so as to enable more effective and timely information-sharing and analysis, with special focus on least developed countries and small island developing States. The data and information made available through such cooperation and networks could help to plan timely disaster responses and create synergies with existing databases. The project will also take into consideration the ECLAC methodology on estimating socio-economic and environmental effects of disasters, as well as the need for collecting gender-disaggregated data and information on the impact of disaster on men and women in undertaking capacity-building and technical advisory missions.
To strengthen government capacities in the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action through the use of standardized statistical and geographic information tools for the implementation of disaster risk preparedness and timely early recovery efforts in the Asia-Pacific region.
- More Governments have the capacity to establish and use a geo-referenced statistical data holding system for disaster risk identification, preparedness, post-disaster assessment and recovery planning
- Communities of practice for Geographic Information Systems (GIS), statistics and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) applications are linked into a regionallevel network supportive of disaster risk identification, preparedness and related information-sharing and analysis
Representatives of participating developing countries in the regional workshop held in Kathmandu expressed that they acquired new knowledge, or enhanced their knowledge on the importance of having: (i) geo-referenced information for effective disaster risk management and; (ii) information sharing among all relevant organizations in their countries. A number of participating countries requested ESCAP to organize more capacity development activities and develop geo-DRM portals which help them do more for disaster risk preparedness and management. The workshop participants also agreed on the proposal to establish a network and community of practices (COP) that would be beneficial for sharing best practices and exchange of experiences on geo-referenced information for disaster risk management (DRM).