Govt pursuing paradigm shift in disaster mngmnt: Home Minister

A paradigm shift in disaster management from a relief centric approach to a holistic one, encompassing preparedness, prevention, mitigation and risk reduction, is being initiated, says the Union Home Minister

Asia Leaders’ Meeting towards Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk in Asia

NEW DELHI, November 17: India has taken initiative for the paradigm shift in disaster management from relief centric to a holistic one and drawing the best practices around the world to improve its system and processes for disaster management, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today. Addressing the inaugural session of the Asia Leaders' meeting towards implementation of the Sendai Framework for disaster risk reduction in Asia, Singh said that that the multi-dimensional aspects of disaster related risks should be dealt with affirmative action. "India has moved ahead from disaster mitigation to risk reduction. Our national policies include mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction and development programmes, besides community resilience building," he said. The Home Minister said government has been actively pursuing a paradigm shift in disaster management from a relief centric approach in the past to a holistic one, that encompasses preparedness, prevention, mitigation and risk reduction. "We have established robust Institutional structures from national to provincial level with legislative back up and policy framework for enhancing our capabilities to reduce risk and loss to economy," he said. Calling upon all entities, public and private, to strengthen the international support mechanisms for disaster risk reduction by sharing of reliable and affordable modern technology for capacity-building, Singh hoped the three-day deliberations will set the agenda for the First Asia Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) after the advent of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) due be held in New Delhi in November next year. "At the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan earlier this year, we committed to support a 15-year plan (2015-2030) of action with defined global targets and priorities under the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction," he said. The Home Minister hoped the meeting would help devise future strategies for identification of risks, challenges and equal distribution of scarce resources ultimately contributing to achieve sustainable development goals. "Systematic incorporation of risk mitigation, emergency preparedness and capacity building approaches into national policy framework and developmental programmes would not only strengthen institutional mechanism but inculcate awareness among masses, in particular the law making entities," he said. Singh said the ISDR Asia Partnership forum is a vital space for our governments to collectively reflect and share experiences on best practices and innovative solutions to implement disaster risk reduction effectively at national and local levels across the Asia region. During the inaugural session, Margarete Wahlstrom, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, conferred Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju as the Asia Leader for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) on behalf of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). Rijiju was conferred as the first regional champion for DRR after the Sendai Agreement, giving an impetus to India's efforts to facilitate regional support towards enabling community resilience in the Asia-Pacific region. The function was attended by Ministers from China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, South Korea and Thailand, delegates from various countries and international organisations. Accepting the honour, Rijiju said this recognition is an onerous responsibility on India and in his personal capacity to make India, Asia-Pacific and the world as a whole safer and better prepared to deal with any disaster. "We recognise the importance of including disaster and climate risk management as an integral part of developmental planning and programmes to realize the global goals of sustainable development and poverty eradication," he said. The Minister said countries in the Asian region have been "building back better" in the face of inexorable disasters. Rijiju said as partners, India can use this platform to collaborate on responsibilities and make actionable commitments towards implementation of the shared goal of disaster risk reduction. "As Asia Leader, we will work toward converging individual efforts of member states into a larger inclusive and collaborative mechanism for recovery, rehabilitation and rebuilding of affected communities and assets," he said. Underlining that the Asia-Pacific region is the most disaster-prone area in the world, Rijiju said many Asian countries have experienced fast economic growth over the last decades, which coupled with high population growth and rapid urbanisation, has exposed the large vulnerable population and their habitats as well as economic assets to hazards, creating huge risks of disasters which is further exacerbated by climate change. Acknowledging the importance of private sector participation in disaster risk reduction, he said the Global Assessment Report by UNISDR has highlighted the fact that the relationship between business investments practices and disaster risk reduction needs to be strengthened in order to reduce economic losses. "In fact, our National Policy on Disaster Management too recognises the role of private sector and encourages public- private partnerships for disaster risk reduction," he said. Asserting India's commitment towards forging regional cooperation in the field of disaster risk reduction, Rijiju said all South Asian countries are working together to achieve the target of reduced disaster risk by promoting knowledge sharing among the SAARC countries.