NEW DELHI, INDIA - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) continues to be active in disaster risk management in Asia, and has learned important lessons from its experiences, ADB Vice President Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, said today.
Ms. Schaefer-Preuss is attending the Second Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, organized by India’s Ministry of Home Affairs. At the conference, held in New Delhi, Ms. Schaefer-Preuss emphasized that disaster relief is an important pillar of poverty reduction.
“Disaster relief strategy needs to be mainstreamed into policy decisions on infrastructure, agriculture, housing and natural resource management, among others,” Ms. Schaefer-Preuss said. “This also means that a clear and responsible government coordination mechanism needs to be established and maintained at all times.”
Ms. Schaefer-Preuss said there needs to be a clear link between international agreements, national strategies, local actions and support from various partners. She also emphasized the importance of cooperation among the countries mostly likely to be affected by disasters.
“Too often, we have witnessed the lack of clear coordination among the various institutions – which tends to delay the needed assistance,” she said. “I believe regional cooperation is a critical need for Asia where those nations affected can share their knowledge and experience.”
Many scientists are predicting a higher probability of natural disasters in the near future due to climate change. ADB recognizes the need to forge strong partnerships to prepare for possible future needs. Partnership among donor agencies, governments, research institutes and local communities will be critical in reducing the impact of future disasters.
ADB’s Disaster and Emergency Assistance Policy sets out objectives which are designed to strengthen support for reducing disaster risk in ADB’s member countries in Asia and the Pacific, as well as provide rehabilitation and reconstruction assistance following a disaster. A new action plan is being prepared to further embed disaster risk management into ADB’s operational practices, and to develop additional risk reduction measures to further enhance reconstruction projects and climate adaptation projects.