|Diagnostic Study for the DIPECHO Action Plan for South-East Asia and Bangladesh (Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, 1997, 95 p.)|
This Diagnostic Study presents a broad overview of the disaster management situation in seven countries in Asia: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Bangladesh. The report looks at the disaster management situation in each country in a regional context and recommends future directions for the establishment of a regional programme on disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness by the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO). The programme framework, on South-east Asia and Bangladesh will provide a basis for the implementation of ECHO and other EU programmes in South-east Asia. Similar programmes are being prepared for other target regions selected by ECHO.
Since 1994, ECHO has financed many disaster prevention and preparedness operations (primarily for natural disasters) world-wide. Funding was provided in response to requests from NGOs and international organisations which carried out the operations themselves. Evaluations of these operations have produced favourable assessments. However, ECHO wishes to increase its involvement in disaster prevention and preparedness and better target its actions in order to achieve greater overall coherence.
At its meeting of 16 July 1996, the Humanitarian Aid Committee approved the new regional approach proposed by ECHO for its disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness programme for 1996-98, to be called DIPECHO (Disaster Preparedness ECHO). This programme is to be applied in three regions: the Caribbean, Central America, South-east Asia and Bangladesh. However, instead of simply responding to specific financing requests from NGOs, international organisations or governments, ECHO aims to draw up Programme Frameworks and identify appropriate partners for implementation. DIPECHO also aims to increase the efficiency of action as a whole in the European Union, through closely coordinating its action with that of the Commission and the Member States.
During the meeting it was decided that, before the programme framework was drawn up, a diagnosis study would be undertaken in each region in order to identify the hazards, response structures and policies already in place at community, national and regional levels; present and future external support will also be identified so as to decide what gaps there are and where and to assess the coherence and efficiency of response systems as a whole.
The main objective of this Diagnostic Study is to provide a basis for the preparation of a programme framework for consideration by ECHO. The report is based on a review of existing documentation and on missions to the target countries, as well as consultations with regional bodies and with the staff of the European Commission. The report is not a comprehensive and complete overview of all activities in the field of disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness in the target countries. Instead, it aims to provide some strategic insights into current programmes and priorities in the target countries, and on the basis of these findings, suggests some future directions for a DIPECHO programme framework.
The report consists of three parts:
Part one presents the disaster situation in each of the seven target countries. For each country some baseline data is provided, followed by a review of the hazards and vulnerabilities of the country. A summary of institutional arrangements, current programmes and established policies is presented. This is followed by an analysis and a first presentation of possible priorities for ECHO within the framework of the DIPECHO programme.
Part two of the report places these country characteristics in a regional context and reviews current regional mechanisms for disaster management, as a basis for identifying appropriate structures for enhancing the effectiveness of disaster management.
Part three provides discusses key themes for the preparation of the DIPECHO programme for South-east Asia, including the scope and foundation of the framework, possible implementing partners and the level and type of activities. It provides recommendations on the policy issues at stake. On the basis of these recommendations, a broad outline of the programme framework is provided, including an initial presentation of programme priorities at the country and regional levels.
There is some variation in the level of detail of the analysis of the seven countries. This is largely explained by the differences in complexity of the in-country situation. This is particularly true for Bangladesh, and to a lesser extent for the Philippines and Vietnam.