UNDRR Announces Urban Resilience Programme for Central Asia During Regional Conference
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The project will support the development of national DRR strategies and disaster loss accounting systems in compliance with the Sendai Framework to help guide future DRR investments by providing more precise information on countries’ risk profiles and where disaster losses are occurring.

The Center for DRR and Emergency Situations, based in Kazakhstan, will help generate regional risk scenarios and strengthen regional cooperation.

In addition to being prone to extreme weather events, earthquakes and landslides, Central Asian countries are also at risk from ‘Natech’ accidents, where natural hazards or disasters impact on installations causing fires or the release of hazardous materials.

21 August 2019: The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) will implement a EUR 3.7 million project to strengthen urban resilience and support implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR in five Central Asian capitals. The announcement was made during the Regional Conference on DRR for Central Asia in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

The three-year project, funded by the European Commission, will enable UNDRR to engage with the Governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and their respective capitals Nursultan (formerly Astana), Bishkek, Dushanbe, Ashgabat and Tashkent. The project will support the development of national DRR strategies and disaster loss accounting systems in compliance with the Sendai Framework to help guide future DRR investments by providing more precise information on countries’ risk profiles and where disaster losses are occurring.

At the local level, the project will enable the use of the Disaster Resilience Scorecard, which facilitates the development of local DRR strategies that are aligned with Sendai Framework targets for reducing mortality, number of people affected by disasters, economic losses and critical infrastructure.

The project will also strengthen institutions responsible for disaster risk management (DRM) and bring together experts on transboundary issues. The Center for DRR and Emergency Situations, based in Kazakhstan, will help generate regional risk scenarios and strengthen regional cooperation.

Over the past three decades disasters due to natural hazards in Central Asia have affected over 10 million people and caused almost USD 2.5 billion in losses.

Announcing the project, Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for DRR, said that, over the past three decades, disasters due to natural hazards in Central Asia have affected over 10 million people and caused almost USD 2.5 billion in losses.

Central Asian countries, she explained, are “on the front line of extreme weather events,” and are also prone to earthquakes and landslides on an unprecedented scale. She said such exposure exacerbates the additional risk of ‘Natech’ accidents, where natural hazards or disasters impact on installations causing fires or the release of hazardous materials.

Addressing the conference, Asako Okai, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Crisis Bureau Director, noted that sustainable development is hindered by disasters and climate impacts, and will continue to remain “elusive” unless resilience and risk reduction considerations are integrated into development policy, planning and implementation. She said this idea is embedded in the Sendai Framework, the SDGs, the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the UN Secretary-General’s Prevention Agenda.

Okai suggested that solutions can be delivered by: increasing DRR financing, which is “good economics”; ensuring that DRR is considered when discussing the humanitarian-development-peace nexus; and addressing DRR in tandem with risks related to climate change, conflicts, technological disasters and epidemics to reduce impacts on human security, sustainable development and community resilience.

She said that UNDP will continue providing support to national institutions in the region working on DRR, and will work with partners to: consolidate support for the development and implementation of national and sub-national DRR strategies; identify and regularly assess hazards and risks; continue efforts to increase investment in DRR; and improve preparedness and response levels.

The conference, which convened on 21 August 2019, focused on accelerating implementation of the Sendai Framework in Central Asia, and was attended by representatives from Tajikistan, Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) provided support for the conference. [UNDRR Press Release] [UNDP Statement to Conference]

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