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Development Account Projects

Enhancing knowledge and capacity for the management of disaster risks for a resilient future in Asia and the Pacific

Background:

The Asia-Pacific region is the most disaster prone in the world. Despite the rapid economic growth in the region, many developing countries are increasingly vulnerable to disasters, as the coping capacities of communities have not expanded at the same rate as disaster frequency. Smaller economies, those that have less diversified economic structures and countries with high fiscal deficits show especially high rates of vulnerability. While the impacts of disasters are clearly multisectoral, there is limited evidence of multisectoral policy planning and implementation to address disasters. As a result, more often than not, disaster risks are not mainstreamed into broader development planning and poverty reduction strategies. The lack of socioeconomic analysis of natural disasters makes it difficult for a strong case to be made to justify significant and sustained investments in disaster risk reduction from fiscal budgets and long-term public investment plans. Damage and loss assessment, when undertaken, is not used for better planning and preparedness for future disasters. In addition, frequent economic crises that the region has been facing in recent years reduce the resilience to natural hazards of a community or a country, which in turn increases the adverse social and economic impacts of natural disasters.

The outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) specifically calls for disaster risk reduction and the building of resilience to disasters to be addressed with a renewed sense of urgency in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and, as appropriate, to be integrated into policies, plans, programmes and budgets at all levels and considered within relevant future frameworks. The objective of the project is therefore to enhance the knowledge and capacity of government officials and key stakeholders to manage natural disaster risk for a resilient future in Asia and the Pacific. The solution lies in promoting intersectoral dialogue and creating multisectoral interfaces for optimizing the allocation of scarce resources for inclusive and sustainable development that also helps in reducing vulnerability and exposure, and hence contributes to building disaster resilience. The project will take forward the proposed development approach and focus specifically on enhancing capacities to (a) adapt new analytical methods and tools for integrating risk-sensitive measures, including risk financing in the integrated development planning, (b) apply evidence-based policy analysis to pursue multisectoral approaches to disaster risk management as well as economic resilience to disasters, (c) develop post-disaster resilient recovery and reconstruction strategies, and (d) mainstream disaster risk management into long-term multisectoral development planning and poverty reduction strategies.

The project will draw on the multisectoral, multidisciplinary strengths of ESCAP to provide comprehensive options towards building resilience and will therefore involve all relevant substantive divisions and ESCAP subregional offices. ESCAP will collaborate with ECLAC to implement the project, building on the strategic partnership with ECLAC on interregional capacity development in damage and loss assessment, and, in particular, the damage and loss assessment-plus-methodology-based assessments that enable multisectoral dialogue around disaster risk reduction, vulnerability reduction, sustainable development and adaptation to climate change. Work carried out by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the Secretariat on the use of the economic vulnerability index for development policies, and efforts made by the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security on the world risk index for disasters will be integrated into the project implementation framework. The partnerships with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of the Secretariat, the UNDP/Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction established through the Thematic Working Group on Environment and Disaster Risk Management of the Asia-Pacific Regional Coordination Mechanism, will be mobilized for the project. Collaboration with respective subregional organizations will be strengthened to support the capacity development process.

Objective:

To enhance the capacity of developing countries in Asia and the Pacific to develop policies and strategies for multisectoral disaster-resilient development planning for safer communities

Expected accomplishments:

  • Improved capacity of policymakers in Asia and the Pacific to formulate effective policies and strategies to mainstream disaster risk reduction into multisectoral development planning at the national level
  • Improved capacity of policymakers in Asia and the Pacific to carry out effective damage loss assessment to be used for planning better disaster-resilient recovery and reconstruction, through a multisectoral approach, from future disasters

Implementation status:

Summary of the progress report for 2014


The following activities have taken place:

  • Project focal points have been identified for each target country (Bhutan, Cambodia, Fiji, Maldives, Myanmar, Mongolia, Nepal and Samoa).
  • Discussions with the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), Ministry of Home Affairs of India and the National Disaster Reduction Centre (NDRCC), Ministry of Civil Affairs of China have been held to establish partnerships with the 'ESCAP Regional Network of Knowledge' and 'Innovation Centres in Disaster Risk Reduction'.
  • Two regional consultants have been hired to produce: (a) guidelines for policymakers of developing countries in Asia and the Pacific on planning, financing and budgeting disaster risk reduction (DRR) mainstreaming into long term development planning and; (b) a prototype package of catastrophe/probabilistic risk models for seismic hazards for development planning for Myanmar and Nepal.
  • Commitment has been secured from the National Disaster Management Centre of the Maldives and the National Planning Commission of Nepal.
  • A Mission to Cambodia was carried out to determine the implementation scope and modality of the project. Commitment from the Ministries of Planning, Economy and Finance and the National Committee for Disaster Management has been secured.