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close this bookDisaster Preparedness - 2nd Edition (Department of Humanitarian Affairs/United Nations Disaster Relief Office - Disaster Management Training Programme - United Nations Development Programme , 1994, 66 p.)
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

The U.N. at field level

At the field level, inter-agency collaboration can have a positive impact on devising and implementing a disaster preparedness plan. Four components of such collaboration are essential.

An interagency team

Each agency should designate an individual to become part of an inter-agency “Disaster Management Team” [UN DMT]. Because agencies increasingly have had field expertise in disaster management, the designated official would hopefully be an individual with such expertise. For example, where UNHCR is involved in relief management for refugees, a UNHCR representative should be invited to become a member of the UN DMT.

The UN DMT should be established as a permanent, functioning inter-agency body at the field level. Each member agency should have defined sectoral responsibilities. The chair of the DMT should be the Resident Coordinator. If agreed among the members of the DMT, the DMT’s secretariat should be under the responsibility of UNDP’s designated DMT participant, the “Disaster Focal Point.”

UN DMT meetings should be held at regularly-scheduled intervals. The frequency of meetings might be adjusted in times of known potential threats, such as during rainy seasons.

Purpose of the DMT

The DMT should be a forum in which information is exchanged on a variety of matters. Long-term risk reduction and preparedness arrangements within the country should be reviewed. Development projects that would have some direct or indirect impact upon disaster prevention or preparedness should be part of this review.

Reviews of preparedness arrangements within the U.N. should include: mechanisms for the coordination of U.N. emergency assistance; inputs and operations between the government, bilateral donors and NGOs; location of personnel in the field when there is an immediate threat; and lists of resources available for specialized emergency activities.

UN DMT members should discuss the analysis and interpretation of data derived from early warning systems, both from within the country and from outside. They should also review information requirements needed for reporting formats, such as U.N. situation reports, to be disseminated either on preparedness or on relief activities.

The UN DMT as a focal point

The UN DMT should serve as the focal point for U.N. assistance in the preparation of national disaster preparedness plans. In collaboration with government counterparts, the DMT should review and comment upon proposals at their various stages. Representatives of the DMT should be on hand for expert advice during the policy formulation process. Where possible, these representatives should seek resources from individual agencies to bolster technical assistance and provide additional expertise.

The UN DMT and its region

The DMT should also look at disaster preparedness in a regional context. The activities of a neighboring nation may directly affect those of another. Early warnings on locust infestation, for example, is but one practical issue in which regional cooperation should be incorporated into a disaster preparedness plan. While governments will know regional and international organizations relevant to their interests, the DMT might be useful in demonstrating specific ways that such organizations might be used to enhance particular disaster preparedness programs.