Localizing the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in Pakistan: Moving towards a more resilient Pakistan

Feb 28, 2017

28 February 2017, Islamabad—Effective implementation of disaster risk reduction (DRR) plans and better preparedness are crucial for saving the lives and livelihoods of millions of vulnerable people across Pakistan. In line with international commitments and frameworks, including the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), national-level policies should incorporate local situations while catering to the needs of people vulnerable to hazards and disasters.

The national consultation meeting on post-adoption of SFDRR was jointly organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) with support from UKAid.

The speakers called for mainstreaming DRR into sectoral development policy. The meeting aimed to produce appropriate recommendations from various DRR/DRM actors and stakeholders on future actions and activities towards achieving the SFDRR objective, which itself is linked with the National Disaster Management Plan and National Disaster Risk Reduction Policy.

Discussing the Framework’s legal dimensions, the speakers said it provides guidelines to set up roles, tasks and mandates for relevant authorities, and to establish and/or enhance mechanisms for assessment and monitoring. The discussion revolved around a key SFDRR goal that calls for preventing new, and reducing existing disaster risks by implementing integrated and inclusive measures. These include economic, structural, legal, social, healthcare, cultural, educational, environmental, technological, political and institutional measures that prevent and reduce exposure to hazards and vulnerability to disasters, and increase preparedness for response and recovery, thereby strengthening resilience”.

Major General (R) Asghar Nawaz, Chairman, NDMA, highlighted the state of disaster preparedness in Pakistan, saying there had been a shift from response to preparedness, setting aside disaster risk finance and risk insurance plans. There is a strong disaster management architecture in the country with appropriate laws, policies and plans, including contingency plans. He said despite major achievements, Pakistan still faces challenges owing to its vulnerability to the diverse nature of climate risks and hazards. He said the Government is working to invest in terms of preparedness to provide an enabling environment to deal with disasters. “We have a national disaster management plan which is being aligned with the objectives and targets of SFDRR.” he added.

Mr. Ahmad Kamal, Member, DRR, NDMA said Pakistan needs to evaluate its disaster risk management systems in light of guidelines available in international frameworks, including SFDRR. He said Pakistan faces disasters ranging from flash floods to extreme droughts, and must, therefore, deal with them using a holistic approach.

Mr. Ignacio Artaza, Country Director, UNDP said the consultative process was extremely useful and that UNDP would continue supporting such endeavours in future. He said UNDP would like to work closely with local partners to make Pakistan a more resilient country. “We have witnessed increasing intensity and frequency of disasters in Pakistan. It is the seventh most affected country.” He said.

Mr Aadil Mansoor, Assistant Country Director, Crisis Prevention and Recovery Unit, UNDP said Pakistan’s DRR policy acts as a guide for community preparedness. He said UNDP supports both national and provincial governments in their efforts for community-based disaster risk management (CBDRM). Pakistan has developed good models and practices on disaster management and had extended its support to other countries, including Nepal, enabling them to deal with disasters. He said there is coherence in the National Disaster Management Plan and the Sendai Framework on DRR, which is better for the overall disaster management situation across the country.

Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI, was of the view that disaster risk reduction plans would yield better results if they were made inclusive. He said DRR measures should be broadened and the effects of manmade crises, including the victims of terror acts, should be supported through such efforts. He called for improving disaster risk governance, saying “the failure in responding to a disaster situation by state apparatus means validating the role of defunct organizations in the guise of relief efforts.”

Dr. Salman Hamayun, a DRR policy expert, said Pakistan was responding reasonably well to relevant international frameworks. He said bringing policies into practice was now the major challenge and it must be done while considering local views and needs. Major challenges include overlapping institutional roles, a lack of resource allocation and improper spending. He proposed more disaster finance for better preparedness against disasters.

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Dr. Muhi Usamah, DRM specialist, UNDP, presented SFDRR, explaining the contrast with the Hyogo Framework for Action. In his presentation, he unpacked Pakistan’s three national policies and linked them to key SFDRR priorities. He was of the view that it is important to find relevance in all SFDRR targets while implementing policies. He emphasized the fact that more than 80 percent of the contents of Pakistan’s national policies were relevant to SFDRR. “The challenge lies in stakeholder collaboration. One of the first steps in implementing SFDRR is translating the global agenda into the Pakistani context, and then refining it at the provincial, district, and if necessary, union council level.” He said.

This event was the first of its kind and was a step towards achieving the national action plan of SFDRR in Pakistan. It is both timely and strategic, especially in the wake of the establishment of the global SFDRR indicators and DRR terminology. As the main organizers of the event, UNDP and SDPI will propose that NDMA develop a roadmap and implementation strategy toward the SFDRR National Action Plan and the localization of SFDRR.

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For additional information, please contact Dr. Muhi Usamah, Disaster Management Specialist in Islamabad at muhi.usamah@undp.org.

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