| GATE - 3/94 - Management of harmful substances |
Yokohama Strategy- Prevention is Better than Cure
Frankfurt - The World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction, which met in Yokohama,Japan in May 1994 identified an urgent need for action to prevent disasters. Developing countries in particular are becoming more and more vulnerable to the impacts of earthquakes, volcanoes, floods and other natural catastrophes. Countries of the South are often unable to cope with such natural disasters on their own.
The 2,000 delegates agreed that development plans geared to sustainable development must Integrate disaster prevention measures. But the political decision-makers are not sufficiently aware of the opportunities available to effectively prevent them from happening. The International Decade for Natural Disaster Relief established by the United Nations in 1989 has also not been able to improve this situation. The Yokohama conference was the mid-term review for this Decade.
The action plan adopted by the conference recommended that disaster prevention be given greater weight in development cooperation. Early warning systems, earthquake resistant construction and improved disaster action plans are required. Education campaigns are also urgently necessary, together with better coordination of ongoing activities.
The Yokohama strategy demands a "preventive culture" - to sensitise people along the motto "prevention is better than cure" (see gate 3/93).
GTZ performance 10 percent up in 1993
Eschborn - Despite cuts in funding for bilateral development assistance, the Deutsche Gesellschaft fÃ¼r Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) was able to significantly increase its performance last year. The annual report for 1993 of the federally-owned GTZ states that the overall company performance rose by 9.7 percent to some DM 1.6 billion. The value of incoming commissions increased by 12 percent to DM 1.9 billion.
While GTZ's chief client in 1993 was again the Bonn Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GTZ's experience is now also being tapped by other Federal Ministries in their consultancy assistance to Eastern Europe and the CIS, explained State Secretary Wighard Hardtl, Chairman of the GTZ's Supervisory Board when presenting the annual report. GTZ has also intensified efforts to better integrate national and international cooperation for development.
The Chairman of the Supervisory Board described how the Federal Government is increasingly combining individual development aid projects into coordinated programmes. "By concentrating on the key economic problems of our partner countries, the efficient use of tight funds can be significantly improved" said Hardtl. This goes hand in hand with the "politicisation of cooperation for development". Cooperation activities no longer concentrate on simply identifying the internal preconditions necessary for sustainable development, but also offer pinpointed support to improve these conditions.
Hardtl stressed the success of a cooperation agreement with the Kreditanstalt fÃ¼r Wiederaufbau which is responsible for Germany's Financial Cooperation for development. Intensified coordination between these two large organisations of German Development cooperrtion alms to optimise assistance given by Germany and make it more efficient. GTZ must also react flexibly to new situations, and in this context has expanded its services in field of refugee relief and emergency aid.