|ENRDD Home||The Water and Mineral Resources Section of the Environment and Natural
Resources Development Division is the focal point for the coordination
of natural disaster reduction activities of the Economic and Social Commission
for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP). Natural disaster reduction activities of
ESCAP started 50 years ago, when the Bureau for Flood Control (now the
Water and Mineral Resources Section) was established in 1949 to advise
and assist member governments with regard to flood control and related
river problems. 1999 thus marked the fiftieth year of ESCAP's contributions
to flood control and management in the region in particular, and to water
resources management in general.
1999 was also the final year of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR 1989-1999), and the launching year of the new International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.
On 11 October 2000, ESCAP, together with United Nations agencies, governments and non-governmental organization in the Asia and Pacific region, commemorated the first International Disaster Reduction Day in the new Millenium with a forum of experts, entitled "ESCAP Forum on Disaster Reduction" and an exhibition "Disaster Reduction in the ESCAP Region".
In preparation for the Closing Event of IDNDR, a joint IDNDR-ESCAP Regional Meeting for Asia: Risk Reduction and Society in the 21st Century was held in Bangkok from 23 to 26 February 1999. The Meeting aimed to review accomplishments and to outline their priority agendas for the 21st century. For the documents presented at the meeting, please go to IDNDR-ESCAP Regional Meeting for Asia: Risk Reduction and Society in the 21st Century.
From 26 to 30 October 1998, ESCAP organized a Workshop on Regional Cooperation in Flood Control and Management for Improvement of the Urban Environment in Asia and the Pacific, which was part of a project formulated following an audience of the Executive Secretary of ESCAP with His Majesty, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand in 1996. At that time, His Majesty the King stated that the United Nations could be of assistance to Thailand and neighbouring countries in the area of flood control and management.
In its Geology for Planning programme, ESCAP has been working to encourage decision- makers to take geological factors into account, to improve the quality of land-use planning and reduce the effect of natural hazards posed by earthquakes, volcanoes, ground subsidence and flooding. This is particularly urgent for coastal lowlands of the region, habitat to an estimated 1.7 billion people, and even more so for the urban centres, most of which are located in the coastal zone. The programme strives to guide geologists to present their data in a user-friendly manner, (such as thematic maps including hazard zoning) readily understandable to decision- makers.
ESCAP has also played major roles in strengthening subregional networks in this area, such as the Typhoon Committee, the Panel on Tropical Cyclones and the Mekong River Commission.