Cover Image
close this bookDisaster Preparedness - 2nd Edition (DHA/UNDRO - DMTP - UNDP, 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

U.N. agencies and development projects

An essential role for U.N. agencies should be to review those projects that are within the Country Program that might be linked with disaster preparedness planning. Present development projects should be reviewed in an effort to determine how these projects might be effectively linked to preparedness measures. Conversely, U.N. agency staff should consider how preparedness measures might enhance the development process. Through the UN DMT, other agencies might review their own projects along similar lines.6

The appropriate mechanism for bilateral liaison will have to depend upon the conditions within each country.

Well-established working relations with government authorities are essential if U.N. agencies are to provide effective assistance in the disaster preparedness planning process. The relations which U.N. agencies have with the non-governmental and bilateral communities are equally important. UNDP, through the UN DMT, should seek wherever feasible and politic to support the NGO community. This may involve attending meetings when invited to discuss initiatives being undertaken by the U.N. system. If acceptable to sister agencies and the NGOs, other members of the U.N. system should attend such meetings to give briefings on their respective activities.

U.N. agencies should establish means to promote disaster preparedness activities proposed for the NGO community, such as workshops at training sites. If acceptable to government and NGOs, U.N. agencies should make every effort to incorporate the roles of NGOs into the formal structure of national disaster preparedness planning and implementation. Finally, U.N. agencies should ensure that the bilateral community is kept apprised of events in the disaster preparedness planning process. Regular meetings with donors are one means of establishing sound working relations. However, whether such meetings should be held under the auspices of the U.N. is an issue that may prove sensitive to the government as well as to bilateral donors. The appropriate mechanism for bilateral liaison will have to depend upon the conditions within each country.

6 See also the Disaster Management Training Programme module titled Disasters and Development.

While effective means for bilateral consultation are generally important in light of the roles that bilateral donors play in disaster relief, it is important to keep in mind that:

· Effective measures for bilateral involvement expedite obtaining resources for disaster preparedness planning and implementation.

· In particularly disaster-prone countries, donor governments have occasionally provided a fund for the Resident Coordinator to use for disaster preparedness and relief purposes. This fund has been used at the discretion of the Resident Coordinator, based upon the monitoring authority of bilateral ambassadors.

Information dissemination is vitally important during a relief operation and only slightly less so in the disaster planning process period. It should be an essential responsibility of UNDP, in conjunction with the DMT, to devise appropriate public information formats. These formats should serve to provide a regular flow of information to the international community (including U.N. agencies at headquarters levels and capitals of key bilateral donors) as well as members of the international community in-country and relevant government departments.

Information on relief assessments or preparedness measures, intended to be of benefit to the nation, can be regarded as highly sensitive. This is true not only for the government but also for sister agencies and NGOs. You must therefore think carefully about the contents of your various outputs. Two common types of information formats include situation reports (“Sitreps”) and newsletters.

Sitreps have become the standard source of information on emergency activities throughout the U.N. system. There is no rigid format for these reports. The message should include key activities related to preparedness, relief and needs assessments, noting requirements fulfilled and unfulfilled. The frequency of sending in Sitreps normally depends upon the level of crisis at hand.

If time allows, newsletters covering disaster preparedness activities serve to keep a wider community informed about events being undertaken in the field. Newsletters normally serve more as a promotional vehicle and do not cover issues that might be deemed sensitive. The intervals at which newsletters are published depends upon the amount of time at hand in the UN DMT secretariat and the number of activities that the DMT considers worth publicizing.