ALMATY, 14 March 2013 - Regional cooperation on disaster risk reduction in Central Asia and the South Caucasus received a major boost this week as representatives from eight countries consulted with the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) on a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.
Representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan gathered in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and identified significant progress on the existing 'Hyogo Framework for Action: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities' as well as the priorities for the future. The region has high exposure to earthquakes, drought, landslides, wildfires and other hazards.
The gathering heard that the government of Kazakhstan will shortly endorse the intergovernmental agreement with Kyrgyzstan on the establishment of the Centre for Disaster Response and Disaster Risk Reduction in Almaty, Kazakhstan. "The new centre can be a focus for regional cooperation" announced Mr. Seitkazhe Okasov, Chief of Apparatus, Ministry of Emergency Situations in Kazakhstan.
Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have established National Platforms for Disaster Risk Reduction.
UNISDR Director, Neil McFarlane, said: "The regional consultation on the post-2015 framework of action for disaster risk reduction has demonstrated that not only are disasters a serious concern in the region but these countries are committed to agreeing on measures which reduce the risk and save lives as well as future economic assets in the HFA2.
"In Central Asia and South Caucasus economies are growing and the population is also increasing which will mean that countries will be more vulnerable to disasters. So we need to look at how the region is preparing and implementing disaster risk reduction."
The consultations highlighted the progress to date in national legislation, education and awareness of disaster risk reduction, and the high exposure and vulnerability of the region to natural hazards. The consultations stressed the importance of risk assessments at the country level; the need for resources to undertake risk reduction activities; to raise awareness of disasters through education campaigns and more scientific evidence; to exchange information on best practices between the countries in the region; and to promote cooperation and coordination at the regional level.
A Partnership Agreement was also signed between Armenia and Kyrgyzstan National Platforms on Disaster Risk Reduction to undertake mutual visits, exchange experiences and best practices, and undertake professional training of staff in disaster management.
Countries from Central Asia and South Caucasus will report on their progress in implementing the 'Hyogo Framework for Action: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities' as well priorities for the successor at the Global Platform in in May 2013 in Geneva.