First Steering Committee Meeting of the Strengthening Financial Resilience & Accelerating Risk Reduction Program in Central Asia

Source(s): United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - Regional Office for Europe & Central Asia World Bank, the

ALMATY, June 3, 2021 - Strengthening Financial Resilience & Accelerating Risk Reduction (SFRARR) in Central Asia Program held its first steering committee meeting with program stakeholders. SFRARR is funded by the European Union and has two result areas, which are implemented in close collaboration with the Center for Emergency Situations and Disaster Risk Reduction (CESDRR). The first result area is managed and implemented by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), and the second is managed by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and implemented by the World Bank.

While UNDRR provides support on guidance, consultations, and monitoring of reaching Sendai Framework goals and strengthening data collection mechanisms, GFDRR and World Bank lead the work on risk identification and financial resilience.

The main objective of this first meeting was to present updates on program activities and discuss the annual workplan for 2021. It also provided an opportunity to discuss challenges faced during the global pandemic, programmatic lessons learned and results to date.

Since the launch of the project, UNDRR has supported Central Asian countries in four main areas: establishing national systems for disaster loss data collection and analysis, adapted to the DesInventar-Sendai system; supporting national governments in developing and reviewing existing DRR strategies and National Platforms for DRR; working with five capital cities of the region in assessing resilience and in developing local strategies for disaster risk reduction through the Making Cities Resilient 2030 Initiative; and raising awareness of vulnerable population on resilience and DRR in targeted communities. The important focus area is support for coordination in disaster risk reduction between countries of Central Asia.

In the next months, UNDRR will continue its work in the four areas and aims to further accelerate the work with national and local governments in the region in transferring knowledge, technologies and methodologies.

Importantly, a Member State dialogue was convened with Central Asian member states sharing experience and best practices for COVID-19 response and resilience.

In his opening remarks, Johannes Stenbaek Madsen, Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Kazakhstan thanked the governments of the countries of Central Asia, the implementing partners and stakeholders for their constructive cooperation and support. “It is a governing device that is used to oversee and validate the guidance of the program implementation and take the necessary decisions to ensure effective program delivery”, - said in this speech. 

“This meeting comes at a very important point, as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and start building forward better and greener. The “Strengthening disaster resilience and accelerating implementation of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in Central Asia” initiative, funded and implemented with the support from the European Union, is also achieving its mid-point and it is therefore critical it supports these efforts and contributes to what Sendai Framework is about - reducing existing and preventing new risks,” – said Octavian Bivol, Chief of UNDRR Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia.

Two main milestones that were reached under the World Bank-implemented result area include the creation of a Regional Scientific and Technical Council bringing together Disaster Risk Management experts and government officials from Central Asian countries to promote regional cooperation and the launch of the multi-hazard risk assessment in December 2020. Over the next 14 months, the World Bank, with support from a consortium of technical experts led by RED - Risk Engineering + Development (RED), will continue conducting regionally consistent probabilistic disaster risk assessments for earthquakes, fluvial and pluvial flood, and landslide. Furthermore, the World Bank will also build the capacity of local experts, institutions, and research groups that have a role in exposure mapping and development/use of disaster risk information and its components.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Bank project team, in coordination with the EU, had to reorganise the work plan and initiated the development of recommendations for strengthening social safety net mechanisms to governments of selected countries (the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan). The reports will be presented to the government officials and relevant stakeholders towards the end of 2021.

“The SFRARR Central Asia program is a centerpiece in the World Bank’s regional strategy and will help build the foundation for strengthening the evidence and capacity for financial resilience and risk reduction at national and regional levels. – said Niels Holm Nielsen, Practice Manager, GFDRR.

For additional information:

Ms. Elnura Abakanova, Communications Officer, EU Delegation to Kazakhstan,

Mr. Abdurahim Muhidov, UNDRR Regional Programme 

Ms. Chyi-Yun Huang, World Bank Senior Urban Development and Disaster Risk Management Specialist,  

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