In order to coordinate internal activities and mobilise resources in cooperation with other international organisations to assist affected countries in coping with the impacts of the tsunami disaster, the Executive Secretary of ESCAP established a Task Force on Tsunami Disaster Management (TFTDM) on 4 January 2005. The TFTDM is chaired by the Director of the Environment and Development Division of ESCAP and is responsible, among other things,:
a. To include emerging policy issues related to natural disasters in the Ministerial Conference on Environment and Sustainable Development (Seoul, Republic of Korea, 24-29 March 2005), especially in the draft State of the Environment Report and in the proposed Regional Programme of Action;
b. To prepare a background paper on "Emerging Issues for the Tsunami and Natural Disasters related to Financing Sustainable Development" for the consideration of the Sixty-first Session of the Commission.
c. To cooperate with other international organisations and related national agencies with a view to assisting developing countries in mainstreaming natural disaster management, including tsunamis, in the socio-economic development process.
Inter-Agency Regional Task Force on Tsunami Rehabilitation and Reconstruction
A special Heads of Agency Meeting was convened and chaired by the Executive Secretary of ESCAP on 10 January 2005, to discuss the coordination of activities in the aftermath of the tsunami disaster. In order to assist in coordinating post-relief activities, it was decided to establish an Inter-Agency Regional Task Force on Tsunami Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (IARTF/TRR). The Task Force is being co-chaired by the Chair of UNESCAP Task Force on Tsunami Disaster Management and the Regional Manager of UNDP Regional Centre in Bangkok, with the Representative of the OCHA Office in Bangkok acting as Adviser.
At the request of the HOAM draft Terms of Reference for the IARTF/TRR were prepared. It was proposed that the main functions of the IARTF/TRR would include the following:
a. To exchange information related to rehabilitation and reconstruction in the aftermath of the tsunami disaster in the region;
b. To exchange information related to capacity building on disaster preparedness, with special emphasis on tsunami hazards;
c. To identify areas for synergy on the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts and capacity building on disaster preparedness; and
d. To carry any other tasks related to tsunami disaster rehabilitation/reconstruction as may be assigned by the Heads of Agency Meeting (HOAM).
Regional Tsunami Early Warning System
On 28-29 January 2005 a Ministerial Meeting on Regional Cooperation on Tsunami Early Warning Arrangements was held in Phuket, Thailand. At the meeting, which was attended by 43 countries and 16 international organizations, delegates supported the idea of establishing a Regional Tsunami Early Warning System as soon as possible. The Tsunami Early Warning System should be working under the umbrella of the United Nations and implemented based on the Hyogo Framework for Action, which was adopted at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (Kobe, 18-22 January 2005).
At the proposal of Thailand, a Voluntary Trust Fund was established to support national and regional efforts to create the Tsunami Early Warning System. UNESCAP has been chosen to administer the Trust Fund. For more information please refer to the Phuket Ministerial Declaration.