ESCAP and GIZ partner to boost early warning for natural disasters
Early warning systems for natural disasters in the Indian Ocean and southeast Asian countries were today strengthened by a 500,000 Euro contribution from the German Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ) through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) and a new agreement with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
The Asia-Pacific region remains highly vulnerable to coastal hazards, such as tropical storms, storm surges, flooding and tsunamis. Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines is one of the recent disastrous episodes which killed over 6,000 people and affected millions of others.
The contribution by the German Government will boost ESCAP’s efforts to strengthen early warning systems through regional collaboration and capacity building, so that vulnerable communities receive the timely information they need in order to save lives and livelihoods when disasters strike.
“ESCAP values its partnership with the German Government to further strengthen early warning systems and build resilience to natural disasters,” said Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary.
“The contribution from the German Government will kick-start the next phase of the Fund and this investment will enhance regional warning mechanisms, while building national capacities of vulnerable countries for early warning.”
Created in 2005 following the devastation caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, the Trust Fund supports activities that build resilience through strengthened early warning systems for coastal hazards. It has made important contributions to the establishment of effective regional mechanisms, such as the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System and the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES), as well as to the strengthening of warning systems at the national and local levels.
The contribution is part of the newly launched Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management (GIDRM), of which ESCAP is a major partner. The initiative is coordinated by GIZ and brings together a wide range of stakeholders from Germany and the Asia-Pacific region, providing a forum for new and innovative ways of collaboration in disaster risk management. Germany confirmed its status as one of ESCAP’s biggest donors in 2013.
“Disasters are one of the global challenges of the 21st century. If we want to effectively and systematically reduce and manage disaster risks, we will have to think more outside the box, bringing in new actors like the private sector, promoting knowledge-sharing and creating space for innovation across regions,” said Ms. Gisela Hammerschmidt, Director for Policy issues of bilateral development cooperation, development effectiveness and evaluation in the BMZ and Chairwoman of the Advisory Board of the GIDRM.
“There is a lot to be learned from one another and we are most grateful of having the possibility to work closely together with a strong partner like ESCAP.”
ESCAP has a long-standing partnership with GIZ. Over the past 10 years, GIZ has contributed US $7.6 million, to support ESCAP in promoting policies for poverty reduction, pro-poor waste management, export promotion and transport.