The "Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction" was held from 3 to 5 November 2016 in New Delhi, India. At the joint invitation by Government of India and UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), an ECO Delegation headed by Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Seyed Jalaledin Alavi Sabzevari attended the Event.
The Conference was inaugurated by the Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi preceded by statements by Indian Minister of Home Affairs and the Special Representative of UN Secretary General and the Head of UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). Over 4,000 delegates, including high level representatives from 50 countries as well as senior officials from UN relevant agencies and other international and regional organizations participated in the Conference.
In his introductory remarks, Mr. Robert Glasser, the Head of UNISDR, gave an overview on the way gone since UN Conference in Sendai in March 2015 and highlighted the importance of the Asian Ministerial Conference which re-affirm the region’s leadership on disaster risk management and provide important input to the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, which will be hosted by the Government of Mexico in May 2017.
During the Conference and its thematic and featured panels, representatives of the participating countries and organizations deliberated on ways and means to upgrade regional cooperation on disaster risk reduction and on the components of the regional plan for disaster risk reduction in Asia. All Governments and other parties expressed commitment and support to the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, which is helping countries to institutionalize DRR into long-term development planning and climate change adaptation strategies of the countries. The coherence and interlinkage between disaster risk reduction, sustainable development and climate change was underlined as a critical thread in most statements.
ECO Deputy Secretary General in his statement in the plenary session of the Conference briefed the ministerial meeting about disaster situation in the ECO Region and referred to ECO emerging regional approach to disaster risk reduction in the post Sendai era. He also presented the draft ECO Regional Framework for DRR which had been developed in the Expert Group Meeting on 26-28 October 2016 in Tehran. Mr. Alavi further underscored the partnerships developed by ECO with UN relevant bodies such as UNESCAP, UNISDR, UNHABITAT and UNESCO and highlighted the need to foster collaborative partnership among regional organizations to drive the global disaster resilience agenda.
The Asian Ministerial Conference was concluded with adoption of the “Asia Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030” and “New Delhi Declaration”. The Regional Plan has urged on boosting national and local efforts to reduce disaster losses and increase regional cooperation on disaster risk management in Asia. The Plan has also emphasized on the need to strengthen the capacity of main inter-governmental regional organizations (IGO) including ECO to foster the implementation of the Sendai Framework from a regional perspective.
The New Delhi Declaration has called on enhancing regional cooperation including strengthening the role of intergovernmental organizations for coherent implementation of the Sendai Framework and the 2030 sustainable development agenda, fostering innovative partnerships, and North-South, South-South and Triangular Cooperation in all areas related to disaster risk reduction.
Participation in the Ministerial Panel
In line with the proposal made by ECO delegation in the last ISDR Asia Partnership Meeting in 2016 in Bangkok, this year’s Ministerial Meeting included a panel on "Strengthening Regional Cooperation for Sendai Framework Implementation in Asia” on 4 November. The Panel was chaired by H.E. Mr. Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State of Home Affairs of India. Panelists from inter-governmental regional organizations (IGO) in Asia including Executive Secretary of UNESCAP, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar; Secretary General of SAARC, Mr. Arjun Bahadur Thapa; Secretary General of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), Ambassador Sumith Nakandala; ECO Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Alavi Sabzevari; Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN, Mr. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee; and Deputy Secretary General of Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS) Dr. UMEZAVA Akima participated in the discussions on the imperative of the regional cooperation in fostering DRR efforts at national, regional and global levels. Panelists also presented capacities exist in their respective regions and sub-regions for promotion of DRR agendas.
The Panel also included questions from the audience which stimulated further contributions from the panelists. In informal exchange of views between ECO delegation and some participating regional organizations on the sidelines of the Panel, it was generally agreed that this kind of inter-regional dialogue will certainly help synergy and coherence in the approaches adopted by different regions and sub-regions.
Consultations with UNISDR
On the sidelines of the Asian Ministerial Conference, the ECO Delegation met with Mr. Robert Glasser, the Special Representative of UN Secretary General and the Head of UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) on 4 November. At the beginning of the Meeting, Mr. Alavi gave a report on the ECO activities since last bilateral discussions in Dushanbe. He particularly focused on the outcome of the Expert Group Meeting on ECO Regional Framework for DRR, recently convened in Tehran. He thanked UNISDR for its contribution into the meeting.
Mr. Glasser also informed the ECO delegation on the future course of actions on DRR including the global indicators to be finalized by the end of this year which defines benchmarks for implantation and monitoring of the Sendai Framework at different levels. He also expressed hope that in his future visit to Iran, ECO-UNISDR relationship can be further strengthened.
ECO delegation also attended a side event chaired by Tajikistan on DRR regional framework for Central Asia and Caucasus, and a meeting on DRR information management jointly organized by Iran and ESCAP.
The Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) is a biennial conference in Asia to ensure political and stakeholder’s commitment towards Disaster Risk Reduction implementation. The next Conference will be organized in 2018 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.