Senior government officials from Pakistan attend a High-Level Learning and Exchange on Disaster Resilience

Senior government officials from Pakistan attend a High-Level Learning and Exchange on Disaster Resilience

28 Feb 2018

Bangkok, Thailand

Brig. Mukhtar Ahmed engages participants with the current status and trends of DRR, climate change and development in Pakistan.

The six-day High-Level Learning and Exchange on Disaster Resilience for senior government officials from Pakistan is underway in Bangkok, Thailand. Officers from national and provincial disaster management authorities as well as planning and development departments have gathered to discuss good practices and challenges in translating the Sendai Framework for DRR (SFDRR) into action at the provincial level. Launched on 26 February 2018, the learning exchange is funded by the World Bank, Pakistan and facilitated by ADPC.

In his opening remarks, ADPC’s Executive Director Hans Guttman highlighted the importance of incorporating disaster risk into development to address the various social constructs that heighten people’s vulnerabilities. Reaffirming these remarks, Brigadier Mukhtar Ahmed, Member Operations, National Disaster Management Authority, Pakistan (NDMA), said, “This exchange is a good initiative by the World Bank, Pakistan and ADPC to not only learn from international best practices but also discuss the limitations and capacities of the various governmental, provincial and development authorities present for this workshop.”

Brig. Mukhtar Ahmed continued to explain that as the seventh-most disaster prone nation, disasters and climate change continuously cost precious lives, destroy property, and undermines development gains. “NDMA is trying to prepare for and mitigate disasters and bring best practices to Pakistan with donors’ technical support,” he said.

Mr. Hans Guttman shares his thoughts during opening remarks.

Action on various global DRR and development frameworks is a key topic for this exchange. During Monday’s session on SFDRR priority actions in the Asian context, Mr. Idrees Mahsud Khan, Member DRR, NDMA, examined the changing focus of the SFDRR from the Hyogo Framework. Regarding the four SFDRR priorities, Mr. Idrees prudently said, “The next emphasis to me should be on the first priority— understanding disaster risk. Without understanding the risks, we cannot move forward with other priorities.” He later led a session on integrating disaster and climate risk in development planning.

Present also at the workshop are director generals from various Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMA) to learn from and exchange province-specific disaster experiences. Reflecting on critical issues that arose during the 2010 floods in Pakistan, Mr. Akhter Hussain Bugti, Director General, PDMA Sindh, said, “Evacuation of people from affected areas was difficult, as people usually refuse to move until the water level is very high. This becomes a big challenge because we need to ensure the safety of people, but they do not understand what is happening and what can occur in a short span of time.”

Knowledge exchange of experiences and best practices will continue throughout the week in Thailand where participants will also meet city governments to learn about the different city-level mechanisms to build urban disaster resilience.

Participants brainstorm on the challenges and opportunities for risk governance at the provincial-level.