Central Asia countries share experience and strategies for COVID-19 response and resilience

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - Regional Office for Europe & Central Asia

Central Asian member states shared experience and challenges for COVID-19 response and resilience at the virtual dialogue on 17 September. The platform for discussion was provided by the EU-funded Central Asia Initiative “Strengthening disaster resilience and accelerating implementation of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in Central Asia.The event was co-organized and supported by the Regional Center for Emergency Situations and Disaster Risk Reduction (CESDRR) in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the World Health Organization (WHO),

During the dialogue, countries analyzed best practices learnt from the ongoing COVID-19 response, the potential for cascading effects including a potential second wave, and effective measures to recover and build back better. Participants discussed multi-hazard approaches to building resilience in the face of a broad spectrum of pandemic consequences.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge of unprecedented magnitude and no one will be safe until everyone around the world is safe. This is why we need to join forces to combat the virus and to recover from this crisis stronger. The €23 billion “Team Europe” solidarity package, mobilised by the European Union (EU) and its Member States, enabled the EU to launch, in July 2020, the Central Asia COVID-19 Crisis Response (CACCR) programme. Primarily focused on Kazakhstan, the CACCR will improve the preparedness of the whole health system to manage this and future pandemics”, EU Delegation to Kazakhstan, Manager of Regional Programmes Mr Youri Skaskevitch noted.

“In the context of a global pandemic, when disasters can have far greater consequences and impacts, there is a need to increase resilience at all levels and sectors, and develop strategies that address a large range of hazards and socio-economic factors,” said Mr. Octavian Bivol Chief Regional Office for Europe, UNDRR.  “Today, this initiative and the collaboration between Member States and their partners carries a new urgency as we collectively work for ending this crisis and creating the conditions for being able to say “Never Again”.

“What we have been learning so far is that even countries with strong health systems and public health capacities have been facing unprecedent challenges in their CVID-19 response. Each of them is now focusing on strengthening their health system, engaging with their communities, and recovering from the socio-economic impact of the pandemic”, said Dr Dorit Nitzan, WHO Regional Emergency Director for Europe. “Today’s meeting is our opportunity to learn from each other to increase synergies for preparedness and resilience.” 

The Member State dialogue brought together National Emergency Management Organizations, Ministries of Health, Sendai Focal Points, International Health Regulations Focal Points, emergency response and risk reduction entities, representatives of the European Union and UN system organizations.

Central Asian states expressed willingness to work together in order to better prepare for the cascading impacts of the pandemic and to reduce existing and future risks.


Background information

The EU funded project “Strengthening disaster resilience and accelerating implementation of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in Central Asia”, implemented by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), aims to support countries of the region in implementing Sendai Framework priorities. The project will support strengthening regional coordination, including development of regional DRR strategy, regional data loss database, and enhancing the role of CESDRR as the center of excellence, the secretariat of regional platform for DRR, and a hub for regional coordination. The support on national level includes assistance in developing/adjusting national DRR strategies, disaster loss database, and establishment of national platforms for DRR. On the local level, the project will support assessment of resilience of major cities to disasters. For this project the EU committed EURO 3,750,000 for the three yeas implementation.

For further details please contact Mr Abdurahim Muhidov, Regional Programme Coordinator, email: muhidov@un.org.

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