U.N. agencies and development projects
An essential role for U.N. agencies should be to review those
projects that are within the Country Program that might be linked with disaster
preparedness planning. Present development projects should be reviewed in an
effort to determine how these projects might be effectively linked to
preparedness measures. Conversely, U.N. agency staff should consider how
preparedness measures might enhance the development process. Through the UN DMT,
other agencies might review their own projects along similar lines.6
The appropriate mechanism for bilateral
liaison will have to depend upon the conditions within each
Well-established working relations with government authorities
are essential if U.N. agencies are to provide effective assistance in the
disaster preparedness planning process. The relations which U.N. agencies have
with the non-governmental and bilateral communities are equally important. UNDP,
through the UN DMT, should seek wherever feasible and politic to support the NGO
community. This may involve attending meetings when invited to discuss
initiatives being undertaken by the U.N. system. If acceptable to sister
agencies and the NGOs, other members of the U.N. system should attend such
meetings to give briefings on their respective activities.
U.N. agencies should establish means to promote disaster
preparedness activities proposed for the NGO community, such as workshops at
training sites. If acceptable to government and NGOs, U.N. agencies should make
every effort to incorporate the roles of NGOs into the formal structure of
national disaster preparedness planning and implementation. Finally, U.N.
agencies should ensure that the bilateral community is kept apprised of events
in the disaster preparedness planning process. Regular meetings with donors are
one means of establishing sound working relations. However, whether such
meetings should be held under the auspices of the U.N. is an issue that may
prove sensitive to the government as well as to bilateral donors. The
appropriate mechanism for bilateral liaison will have to depend upon the
conditions within each country.
6 See also the Disaster Management
Training Programme module titled Disasters and
While effective means for bilateral consultation are generally
important in light of the roles that bilateral donors play in disaster relief,
it is important to keep in mind that:
· Effective measures
for bilateral involvement expedite obtaining resources for disaster preparedness
planning and implementation.
· In particularly disaster-prone
countries, donor governments have occasionally provided a fund for the Resident
Coordinator to use for disaster preparedness and relief purposes. This fund has
been used at the discretion of the Resident Coordinator, based upon the
monitoring authority of bilateral ambassadors.
Information dissemination is vitally important during a relief
operation and only slightly less so in the disaster planning process period. It
should be an essential responsibility of UNDP, in conjunction with the DMT, to
devise appropriate public information formats. These formats should serve to
provide a regular flow of information to the international community (including
U.N. agencies at headquarters levels and capitals of key bilateral donors) as
well as members of the international community in-country and relevant
Information on relief assessments or preparedness measures,
intended to be of benefit to the nation, can be regarded as highly sensitive.
This is true not only for the government but also for sister agencies and NGOs.
You must therefore think carefully about the contents of your various outputs.
Two common types of information formats include situation reports
(Sitreps) and newsletters.
Sitreps have become the standard source of information on
emergency activities throughout the U.N. system. There is no rigid format for
these reports. The message should include key activities related to
preparedness, relief and needs assessments, noting requirements fulfilled and
unfulfilled. The frequency of sending in Sitreps normally depends upon the level
of crisis at hand.
If time allows, newsletters covering disaster preparedness
activities serve to keep a wider community informed about events being
undertaken in the field. Newsletters normally serve more as a promotional
vehicle and do not cover issues that might be deemed sensitive. The intervals at
which newsletters are published depends upon the amount of time at hand in the
UN DMT secretariat and the number of activities that the DMT considers worth