COVID-19 Member State Dialogue in Central Asia: Exchange of experiences on response and building resilience to pandemic risk

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Central Asia member states joined a successful virtual dialogue 17 September on “Sharing Experiences and Strategies for COVID-19 Response, Transition, and Resilience." The dialogue, co-organized by the Regional Center for Emergency Situations and Disaster Risk Reduction (CESDRR) in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the World Health Organization (WHO), gave the opportunity for Member States who have been dealing with COVID-19 crisis to share experiences, challenges and lessons learned with their peers.

The Central Asia Initiative “Strengthening disaster resilience and accelerating implementation of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in Central Asia”, funded by the European Union, served as the platform and provided the environment for engaging the Central Asian countries and the key technical assistance entities in the exchanges and discussions.

“In the context of a global pandemic, when disasters can have far greater consequences and impacts, there is a need to increase resilience at all levels and sectors, and develop strategies that address a large range of hazards and socio-economic factors,” said Mr. Octavian Bivol Chief Regional Office for Europe, UNDRR. “Today, this initiative and the collaboration between Member States and their partners carries a new urgency as we collectively work for ending this crisis and creating the conditions for being able to say “Never Again”.

During the dialogue, countries analyzed best practices learnt from the ongoing COVID-19 response, the potential for cascading effects including a potential second wave, and effective measures to recover and build back better. Participants discussed multi-hazard approaches to building resilience in the face of a broad spectrum of pandemic consequences.

The Member State dialogue brought together National Emergency Management Organizations, Ministries of Health, Sendai Focal Points, International Health Regulations Focal Points, emergency response and risk reduction entities, representatives of UN system organizations and the European Union.

Member States in Central Asian region expressed willingness to work together in order to better prepare for the cascading impacts of the pandemic and to reduce existing and future risks.