NDMA chairman terms effective response to disasters top priority for govt.
Major General (R) Asghar Nawaz, Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), has said that Pakistan is among one of the countries that are highly prone to natural calamities, thus the government is working to invest in terms of preparedness as a top priority to be able to deal with disasters effectively.
He said despite major achievements, Pakistan still faces some challenges owing to its vulnerability to diverse nature of climate risks and hazards. He shared these views with the participants at the National Consultation meeting on adoption of "Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR)" jointly organised by UNDP, NDMA and the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) with the support of UKAid.
The Chairman NDMA said that keeping in view the threats lo lives and livelihoods of millions of people living in extreme vulnerabilities in the face of natural disasters, a national disaster management plan has been devised which is being aligned with the objectives and targets of SFDRR.
Ahmad Kamal, Member (DRR) NDMA, with the help of his detailed presentation, said that Pakistan needs to evaluate its disaster risk management systems in line with the guidelines available in international frameworks including SFDRR.
He said that Pakistan on one hand faces phenomenon of climate change induced disasters such as flash floods and at other, extreme draught situation and thus, has to deal with these vulnerabilities with a holistic approach.
Ignacio Artaza, UNDP Country Director while sharing his views said that the consultative process was highly useful and the UNDP would keep supporting such endeavours in future as well. He said we would like to work closely with our local partners to make Pakistan a more resilient country in the face of disasters.
He said we have witnessed increasing intensity and frequency of disasters that have affected the resilience of Pakistan. Pakistan has multi-sectioral vulnerability and exposure to hazards. It is the seventh most affected country where annual flooding is common.
Aadil Mansoor, Chief, Crisis Prevention and Recovery Unit, UNDP said that Pakistan's DRR policy provides guideline on preparedness of communities against disasters. He said that UNDP supports both national and provincial governments in their efforts for community based disaster risk management (CBDRM).
Pakistan has developed good models and practices on disaster management and had extended its support to other countries including Nepal enabling them to deal with disasters. He said that there is a coherence in the National Disaster Management Plan and the Sendai Framework on DRR which is better for overall disaster management situation across the country.
Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director SDPI, was of the view that disaster risk reduction plans would yield better results if they are made inclusive of participation of all stakeholders. He said that the measures on disaster risk reduction should be broadened and the effects of manmade crisis including the victims of terror acts should also be supported under such efforts.
He said failure in responding to a disaster situation by state apparatus means validating the role of defunct organisations in the guise of relief efforts. He called for improving disaster risk governance.
Dr. Salman Hamayun, the policy expert on DRR, said that Pakistan was responding reasonably well to relevant international frameworks. He said bringing policies into practice was now the major challenge for Pakistan and it must be done while keeping in view the local considerations and needs. He said overlapping roles of institutions, lack of resource allocation and improper spending were the major challenge for effective DRR measure in Pakistan. He proposed more disaster finance for better preparedness against disasters.
Dr. Muhi Usamah, DRM specialist (UNDP) presented SFDRR as well as the difference and similarities with Hyogo Framework for Action. In his presentation, he further unpacked the three national policies in Pakistan and linked them to the key priorities of SFDRR.
He was of the view that it is important to find relevance in all targets of SFDRR while implementing the policies. He emphasised that more than 80% of the contents of Pakistan national policies are of relevance to SFDRR.
The challenge lies on the collaboration of all active stakeholders in Pakistan and NDMA as a national coordinating body. One of the first steps in implementing SFDRR is translating the global agenda to the Pakistan context, which shall be further refined at provincial, district and if necessary UC level.
This event is the first activity towards achieving a national action plan of SFDRR in Pakistan. As the main organisers of the event, UNDP and SDPI will propose to the NDMA on developing a road map as well as implementation strategies toward SFDRR National Action Plan and localising SFDRR.