Innovative disaster response strategies discussed

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 15 Nov 2013

(Bangkok/Geneva, 15 November 2013): The United Nations has called for more attention to developing innovative and ground breaking strategies for governments to better prepare themselves during natural and man-made disasters.

“We, as the humanitarian community, are constantly searching for innovative approaches in building resilience and managing disaster response to minimize the loss of life”, Director of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Geneva, Rashid Khalikov, told participants at the fifth Regional Humanitarian Partnership Meeting on 14 November in Phuket.

“This year’s meeting provided new ideas for humanitarian workers worldwide – sending a clear message that Asia and the Pacific are taking a leading role in innovation of the humanitarian system,” added Mr. Khalikov.

More than 100 disaster management professionals representing 20 member states in the Asia-Pacific region from governments, international organizations, NGOs, academia and the private sector attended the two-day meeting to exchange ideas and compare best practices. The meeting, convened by UN OCHA, aimed at improving humanitarian coordination mechanisms by building stronger collaboration between the different actors.

“The fact that we have organizations from the most diverse countries in Asia and the Pacific together in one space, sharing and exchanging ideas, discussing openly about crucial and difficult issues in humanitarian action, truly paves the way to strengthen and improve each other for collective efforts in the future”, said Jemilah Mahmood, Senior Research Fellow for the Humanitarian Futures Programme and founder of MERCY Malaysia.

Together with similar forums in other regions, the Asia-Pacific series plays an important role in helping the humanitarian community to strengthen partnerships with governments and regional organization, and to explore innovative ways of improving disaster response and preparedness. Over the last two days, participants examined new trends and sought to conceptualize strategies for future collaborations.

“These are just some of the ideas we are going to discuss and explore further over the next few months, hopefully leading to more innovative and concrete activities that disaster responders, governments and humanitarian agencies in the region will sign up to”, noted Mr. Khalikov. “By working together, we can do more to prepare countries and people ahead of time, to reduce casualties when disasters happen, and to help rebuild people’s lives afterwards,” he said.

The Regional Humanitarian Partnerships Forum concluded on 15 November with discussions on preparing, jointly, for the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, in early 2016.

For more information, please contact:

Prerna Suri, Public Information Officer, OCHA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Tel: +66 2288 2856, Mobile: +66 9 2261 8523, Email: surip@un.org
Jennifer Bose, Humanitarian Reports Officer, OCHA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Tel: +66 2288 2435, Mobile: +66 9 2261 8502, Email: bosej@un.org

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.