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close this bookDisaster Preparedness - 2nd Edition (DHA/UNDRO - DMTP - UNDP, 1994, 66 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentUnited Nations reorganization and the Disaster Management Training Programme
View the documentIntroduction
close this folderOverview
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View the documentOverview of the concept
View the documentWorking definition
close this folderPART 1 - Planning for disaster preparedness
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentVulnerability assessment
View the documentPlanning
View the documentInstitutional structure
View the documentInformation systems
View the documentResource base
View the documentWarning systems
View the documentResponse mechanisms
View the documentPublic education and training
View the documentRehearsals
View the documentCASE STUDY
View the documentSUMMARY
close this folderPART 2 - International collaboration for preparedness
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe United Nations system
View the documentThe U.N. at headquarters level
View the documentThe U.N. at field level
View the documentThe UNDP in the field
View the documentU.N. agencies and development projects
View the documentSUMMARY
close this folderPART 3 - Implementing disaster preparedness plans
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPromote the plan at the national level
View the documentEstablish a reliable information base
View the documentDefine appropriate institutional structures
View the documentConsider this advice
View the documentCASE STUDY
View the documentSUMMARY
View the documentAnnex 1: Checklist of basic information required by a UN-DMT1
View the documentAnnex 2: Acronyms
View the documentAnnex 3: Additional reading
View the documentModule evaluation

(introduction...)

In this part of the module you will learn:

· three distinct roles for the U.N. system
· three obstacles to disaster preparedness at the national level
· four areas in which U.N. agencies can assist in developing disaster preparedness plans
· four roles of inter-agency collaboration at the field level through a UN DMT
· four ways UNDP can promote preparedness activities

Disaster preparedness plans and their implementation are the responsibility of the government. The United Nations can facilitate and enhance government efforts, but the government must formally initiate and control the disaster preparedness and response processes.

In spite of government primacy in the realm of disaster preparedness, most emergency situations of significant magnitude in the developing world require some form of collaborative assistance from the international community. This part of the module focuses on ways the international community can support national government disaster preparedness activities. It also analyzes how the United Nations system can facilitate these activities.

The terms “international community” and “international system” are largely abstractions.

The terms “international community” and “international system” are largely abstractions. There are few manifestations of community or system when dealing with the various nations, international governmental and nongovernmental organizations that inhabit the globe. When discussing aspects of international involvement in disaster management, you will usually be dealing with a random assortment of governmental, non-governmental and international institutions that form part of an ad hoc network.

This perspective of the international community includes three obstacles that directly affect disaster preparedness at the country level. The first is that support for national disaster preparedness efforts by those who might be most able to assist, such as bilateral donors, is by no means a certainty. Their assistance is not guaranteed. Therefore, it is important from the outset to establish the type of support a government’s disaster preparedness initiative might receive. This will entail not only establishing an effective means of interesting such donors in these activities, but also effective means to keep them interested.

Secondly, there are many reasons why governments are wary of including “outsiders” in the formulation of a disaster strategy or plan. One clear reason is that the planning process itself, if undertaken openly, exposes many of the inherent weaknesses of government perhaps resulting in embarrassing explanations about the causes of disaster vulnerabilities. These are insights that few governments wish to have paraded before the world. Yet, once a government accepts the rationale for a sound disaster preparedness plan, it will have to accept that the success of that plan may depend upon expertise, resources and technical assistance that may depend to some degree upon international contributions.

Finally, on some occasions, the inability of the United Nations “family” to work together towards a common country objective has proven disappointing. However, since much of the ability of U.N. agencies familiar with disaster management will be needed in the disaster preparedness formulation process, there exists an opportunity to advance effective collaboration.

Q. Consider an example of preparedness planning in your region involving collaboration by more than three international entities. Describe the primary role of three such organizations.

A. ___________________________________________________________
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ANSWER

Answers might include specific role descriptions of U.N. agencies, NGOs or bilateral donors.

Q. List three obstacles related to the ad hoc structure of the international relief system which directly affect disaster preparedness at the country level.

A.___________________________________________________________
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ANSWER

Support for national disaster preparedness efforts is not guaranteed; national governments may be wary of including “outsiders” in their planning processes; and U.N. agency collaboration may be less than ideal.