The U.N. at headquarters level
In developing national disaster preparedness plans, there are at
least four areas in which U.N. agencies can be of immediate assistance.
Headquarters support for disaster preparedness
It is important for agencies at the field level to know that
disaster preparedness initiatives have the support of their respective
headquarters. Beyond the intangible issue of moral support is the more practical
matter of establishing the initiative as a recognized priority at the field
Short-term consultancies, study tours and exchange of
Agencies at headquarters level should have better insight as to
which experts might be available to support field level efforts, in both the
planning and implementation stages. Agencies should compile rosters of available
experts. These rosters should be exchanged with other agencies. Agencies should
review hiring procedures to ensure the rapid fielding of experts.
Wherever possible, agency workers should encourage government
officials to discuss disaster preparedness measures at headquarters levels.
These workers should take study tours to countries that have well established
disaster preparedness plans. Such exchanges should be worked out between
headquarters and the field office.
More flexible systems will have to be developed among some of
the agencies to improve the use of field office resources in times of
emergencies, and to ensure additional resources for emergencies from
headquarters. Such flexibility should be recognized as part of the anticipated
resource base in the national disaster preparedness plan.
Headquarters procedures and scheduling
Through their field offices, agencies will have to make sure
that the proposed disaster preparedness plan incorporates headquarters
procedures and the scheduling necessary for an agency to respond effectively to