|Regional Consultation Meeting on Disaster Preparedness in South East Asia and Bangladesh - Final Report (Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters - DIPECHO - ECHO Programme for Disaster Preparedness, Mitigation and Prevention - European Commission Humanitarian Office, 1998, 35 p.)|
The discussion of the proposed Programme Framework for South East Asia and Bangladesh identified a number of important issues to be taken into account in the development of ECHOS Disaster Preparedness Programme. The principal observations and comments expressed by the participants during the course of the consultation are highlighted below.
Principal observations and recommendations
· More specific guidelines should be developed in terms of projects/activities supported by ECHO
· Health programmes should be emphasised with regard to the serious economic problems being faced by the nations worst hit by the crisis. Concerns were expressed that the critical economic situation causes various problems, amongst them visible effects on the health of the population (increase of morbidity and mortality, supply shortages of essential drugs, food security). In crisis situations, public health seems to be adversely affected first - a development ECHO has to take into account in its new approach.
· With regard to the cultural, political and social diversity of the countries in the region, new DIPECHO programme needs to be flexible and country-specific in order to correspond to needs and priorities expressed at local and national level but must have strong regional linkages to the regional level
· Projects to be funded should prioritise:
- Early warning systems
· Country specific plans with strong regional linkage for information exchange and collaborative projects should be initiated.
· There is a need to integrate disaster management into the process of development planning through involving key development organisations.
· Projects that are involved in the mitigation of human- generated (manmade) disasters have to be included into the new programme.
· There is a need to strengthen the Regional Coordination Office with regard to the following future activities:
- co-ordination of projects
- update database for a better co-ordinated effort.
Additionally, a number of observations were made during the course of the Regional Consultation Meeting concerning the status of activities in the field of disaster preparedness, mitigation and prevention in South East Asia and Bangladesh which should be taken into consideration by ECHO in developing its Disaster Preparedness Programme.
Key to these discussions was the recognition of the need for a permanent dialogue in the region to identify strategies and policies in the field of disaster mitigation. Likewise, a spirit of good will and co-operation was noted on the part of different actors involved in disaster management. This was coupled with a commitment to create mechanisms of co-ordination and disaster management at regional level. The relationship between prevention, mitigation and preparedness activities and development played a prominent role in the discussions as did the acknowledgement of the negative impact of hazards on the economies and development in the region.
The Regional Consultation also made clear the need for greater clarity regarding roles and responsibilities and future mechanisms of co-ordination between different governmental and non-governmental actors and institutions dedicated to the reduction of disasters. It was also recognised that institutional structures must be strengthened if efficiency and effectiveness is to be enhanced at regional level.