UN meeting opens with call to expand regional networks on cross-boundary disasters

High-level officials and experts today underscored the urgent need to strengthen regional cooperation and partnerships on cross-boundary disasters in Asia and the Pacific. They also highlighted the importance to build and further enhance human and institutional capacities of countries and organizations of the region, which is the hardest hit by natural disasters.

Dr. Seyed Hamid Pourmohammadi, Deputy Vice President, Plan and Budget Organization, Islamic Republic of Iran, representing APDIM host country said: “Understanding disaster risk is beyond just collecting data and information about natural hazards or certain vulnerabilities. It is about identifying the fundamental cause and effect relation between various risk factors such as the reciprocal causes and impacts of socio-economic development and disasters risk. We in Iran initiated national level programmes to improve and sharpen our understanding, assessing, monitoring and early warning of hazards and disasters. APDIM is very well positioned to help the countries of the region to enhance their capacities in disaster information and knowledge management”.

The High-Level Expert Consultation on Disaster Information Management is convened by the Asian and Pacific Centre for the Development of Disaster Information Management (APDIM), a regional institution under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in close collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority of Pakistan.

“Disaster information greatly contributes to the policy and decision-making in disaster risk reduction and management. NDMA realizes the importance of disaster risk information and recognize its inevitability for effective DRM planning, highlighted Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal, Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of Pakistan in his opening address. He also added: “I appreciate the efforts of APDIM for organizing this high-level expert consultation and for providing this platform to discuss such important issues at regional level.”

“If we are to collectively achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it is incumbent upon us to work towards reducing disaster risk and building resilience. Using baseline disaggregated data by gender, age, and disabilities is necessary to target disaster risk reduction investments where they would be most effective in protecting those most vulnerable,” said Director of APDIM Ms. Letizia Rossano.

In 2018, almost half of the 281 natural disaster events worldwide occurred in Asia and the Pacific and the region witnessed eight of the ten deadliest natural disasters. An average of 142 million people in the region have been affected annually since 1970, well above the global average of 38 million. The cost of damage has been rising in the region with some $1.5 trillion lost between 1970 and 2018.

Heightened by climate change, the impacts of disasters in the region are large scale, increasingly cross-boundary in nature and affect a range of Sustainable Development Goals related to human health, productivity, agriculture and infrastructure.

Over the next two days, participants at the expert consultation will review trends and developments and disaster information management strategies for several priority hazards and disasters in the region, including sand and dust storms, floods and earthquakes. They are expected to reach consensus on the specific needs for disaster information management in Asia and the Pacific, as well as provide technical recommendations on the way forward.

Outcomes from the expert consultation will feed into deliberations at the Fourth APDIM Governing Council Meeting, which is also being held in Islamabad on 20 February. The Governing Council will set forth APDIM’s programme of work for the upcoming year and approve several initiatives on disaster information management in the region.

For more information, visit:
https://apdim.unescap.org/

For media enquiries, please contact:
Ms. Ava Bahrami, Associate Information Officer
Asian and Pacific Centre of Disaster Information Management
T: (+98) 933 841 3303 / E: [email protected]