Terrorism can trigger disasters across borders: PM

November 14th, 2007 - 8:38 am ICT by admin  
Inaugurating the Second Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Singh said, “Modern societies must also prepare to come together to deal with manmade disasters be they industrial disasters or disasters caused by terrorists’ attacks.”

Singh further said that disasters know no political boundaries, and “We are all equally vulnerable to them.”

“This is one area where nations can - and indeed must - cooperate to find collective, cooperative solutions to the challenges that face them. After all, it is in difficult times that we need the best of relations,” he added.

While handling disasters, he said, what is important is to have coherent national strategies and national capabilities to check these disasters.

“Earthquakes, cyclones, floods and tsunami have contributed to disasters across Asia in the recent past. It is incumbent on each one of us to develop the necessary national capabilities,” he added.

However, he said, a national response alone is not adequate as “we need more bilateral and regional cooperation to make effective use of our capabilities.”

“Greater cooperation in relief and rehabilitation, cooperation in disaster preparedness, and in setting up and maintaining early warning systems is a useful and a very good way of demonstrating good neighbourliness,” Singh said.

Speaking on the adoption of forward-looking approach to disaster management and mitigation, he said, “We have constituted a National Disaster Management Authority and State Level Disaster Management Authorities. The National Authority has come forward with a new approach to disaster management.”

Singh urged those who manage the financial systems to be even more pro-active in insuring the risk-prone regions. “Insurance against natural disasters is still very limited,” he added.

The biggest disaster is the catastrophic effect of global warming and climate change, he said, adding that “the action of one nation can effect the actions of all other nations.”

Besides focusing on natural disasters alone, Singh said that one must learn to deal with new kinds of health disasters such as HIV, and Avian Flu, which have emerged as new challenges all over the world. “They have enormous social and economic consequences.”

Fifty-two countries from the Asia and Pacific Region are participating in the two-day conference.

Thirty-three country delegations are led by their Ministers. The total country delegates are 150. In addition, more than 100 experts and 50 NGOs are also participating.

The objectives of the conference are to review the action taken by the various national Governments on the Hyogo Framework of Action, review the implementation of the Beijing Action for Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia, take stock of initiatives taken in various sub-regions of Asia for promoting cooperation within and outside the Governments, share best practices on Disaster Risk Reduction, discuss new international initiatives such as global platform and global facility for Disaster Risk Reduction and develop a vision and road map for Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia.

The conference will have an inter-governmental segment to deliberate on four themes - mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in national policies and programmes, enhancing public-private partnership in Disaster Risk Reduction, integrating disaster reduction into rehabilitation and reconstruction activities and promoting regional co-operation in Disaster Risk Reduction.

Two technical groups will deliberate on the theme of application of science and technology in Disaster Risk Reduction and on integrating Disaster Risk Reduction in development.

The outcome of the conference will include a “Delhi Declaration” on Disaster Risk Reduction.

The World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction was held in 2005 at Hyogo, Kobe, Japan in which Hyogo Framework of Action 2005-15 was adopted for building the resilience of nations and communities to natural disasters.

The first Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction was held in September 2005 in Beijing in which Action for Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia was adopted. (ANI)

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