Helping the ‘Bangkok Principles’ take root in Thailand
BANGKOK – In 2016, Thailand helped formulate the “Bangkok Principles” which seek to integrate health into disaster risk reduction. Now, the country is mainstreaming the principles domestically to safeguard against the next health emergency.
Soon after the world agreed to adopt the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, Thailand hosted in 2016 an international conference focused on the health aspects of the framework and strengthening integration between the health sector and disaster risk management. The resulting seven recommended measures are known as the ‘Bangkok Principles.’
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become apparent how important is it for countries to increase coordination between the health and disaster risk management sectors in line with the Bangkok Principles and the World Health Organization’s Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management Framework.
That is why Thailand’s Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) partnered with UNDRR Asia-Pacific to organise on 17 September an online orientation webinar for the disaster risk focal points in a number of Thai ministries.
“This will bring progress in the integration of cooperation between agencies in driving the Sendai Framework in the field of public health. It also shows Thailand's leadership in driving the Bangkok principle,” said Mr. Chainarong Vasanasomsithi, Deputy Director-General of DDPM.
The webinar, which included presentations by the country offices of UNDP and WHO, saw the participation of around 240 Thai government officials from various ministries, who learned about the Bangkok Principles and the linkages between protecting health and disaster risk management to guard against future health emergencies.
“Countries need to break down the silos between agencies to adopt a multi-sectoral approach that brings disaster managers closer to their counterparts in ministries of health and other sectors.
“It is just as important that health emergency strategies and preparedness plans are aligned with disaster risk management plans to ensure the strengths of each are utilized and gaps are addressed,” said Ms. Loretta Hieber Girardet, Chief of UNDRR Asia-Pacific.
This webinar is part of a series of efforts that are being undertaken by UNDRR Asia-Pacific to promote the Bangkok Principles and strengthen the integration of health aspects into national disaster risk governance across the region. Thailand’s DDPM now aims to continue using the webinars as a tool to train and educate the DRR focal points across the various ministries on DRR and the Sendai Framework.