Korean ‘Disaster Summit’ hails HFA progress
JEJU ISLAND, 26 March 2014 – Senior disaster management officials and experts from across North-East Asia today endorsed the Hyogo Framework for Action as a consistent and guiding force for national progress in disaster risk reduction (DRR).
Senior representatives from China, Japan, Mongolia, and Republic of Korea said they were all looking forward to help build a stronger post-2015 framework, due to be agreed at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in March 2015.
The officials and experts were speaking at today’s opening of the Expert Meeting on Disaster Loss and DRR Technology Sharing for North-East Asia, hosted in Jeju Island, Republic of Korea.
“The Government of Mongolia has given a high priority to implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action,” said National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Chief Mr Dulamdorj Togooch.
“We have achieved several positive outcomes such as reform of the legal framework of disaster management, human and technical resource development, development of disaster academic research, capacity development on disaster risk assessment, and enhancement of the population’s awareness on disaster risk reduction as well as strengthening the partnership on disaster protection.
“Since we adopted the HFA in 2005, disaster management in Asia and the Pacific has changed. Countries have finally mainstreamed disaster risk reduction in their development policy and planning.
“But Asia Pacific still faces great risk and we have a very short time to identify the objectives to be achieved within the post-HFA framework and to encourage countries to keep improving in the field of disaster management.
“All disasters occur at the local level. It is crucial for us to share our best practices, especially the lessons learned with other countries to efficiently deal with upcoming risks.”
Ms Kun Gao of China’s National Disaster Reduction Centre within the Ministry of Civil Affairs outlined a “typical disaster year” in her country: an average of 10 million people evacuated, 2.5 million homes damaged or destroyed, 60-80 million people in need of some form of temporary relief and direct economic losses of USD48.3 billion.
Yet despite the huge scale of the challenge Ms Gao’s message was upbeat: “There has been remarkable progress in terms of disaster risk management. This covers several areas, including better governance and a much greater awareness of people on the issue through vast social mobilisation, upgrades in technology, and a greater application of knowledge.”
The Director for International Cooperation Disaster Management Bureau in the Government of Japan’s Cabinet Office, Mr Soichi Nakajima, said: “The HFA has been a symbol to promote DRR in many countries including Japan. Our recent experience with big disasters has shown that even though our systems are quite developed it showed we still have lessons to learn.
“2015 is a very important year with the new disaster risk reduction framework, which needs to be incorporated fully into development.”
The Director-General of the Republic of Korea’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr Gyejo Kim, said: “In North-East Asia it is important we collaborate more to better face this common challenge (of disaster risk). It is vital we improve our capacity in prevention and mitigation.”
The Expert Meeting is a formal follow-up on six objectives agreed by the heads of disaster management of China, Japan, and Republic of Korea in October 2013, namely: better compatibility of disaster data; more joint research for better disaster response and recovery; sharing of experience on climate change-induced disaster risk; more table-top disaster exercises; stronger partnership on training; and building a shared regional voice ahead of the Asian Regional Platform, June 2014, and World Conference on DRR, March 2015.
The representatives from government were joined by the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (an intergovernmental body for a host of regional issues between China, Japan and Republic of Korea) as well as participants from science institutes and universities, development agencies, UNISDR, UNESCAP, and UNDP.
The forum, which attracted a total of 43 participants from eight countries, was jointly organised by Republic of Korea’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), UNISDR’s Global Education Training Institute (GETI), UNESCAP, and the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat.