Bangkok (ESCAP News) – The partnership between the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to strengthen early warning systems for coastal hazards was boosted last week, with a new contribution of Euro 250,000 to the ESCAP Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Tsunami, Disaster and Climate Preparedness.
The new contribution follows an initial contribution of Euro 500,000 made in December 2013.
“ESCAP welcomes the renewed support of the German Government to strengthen early warning systems,” said Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary. “Ten years after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, much has been achieved in strengthening resilience to disasters in the Asia-Pacific region; however, we need to continue to invest in preparedness and early warning, especially in high risk and low capacity least developed countries of the region.”
A key lesson from the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami was the importance of effective early warning systems. In the wake of the disaster, countries in the Asia-Pacific region and their partners came together to engage in renewed regional collaboration, which led to important initiatives such as the establishment of the ESCAP Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Tsunami, Disaster and Climate Preparedness in 2005.
The Trust Fund supports activities that build resilience through strengthened early warning systems for coastal hazards such as tsunamis, tropical cyclones and storm surges. It has made important contributions to the establishment of effective regional mechanisms, such as the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System and the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES), as well as to the strengthening of warning systems at the national and local levels.
The contribution is part of the Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management (GIDRM) which is implemented through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), of which ESCAP is a major partner. The initiative brings together a wide range of stakeholders from Germany and the Asia-Pacific region, providing a forum for new and innovative ways of collaboration in disaster risk management.
“Each year extreme natural events destroy the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people, cost countless lives and cause financial damages in the hundreds of billions worldwide.” said Thomas Silberhorn, Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). “Mechanisms like the Multi-Donor Trust Fund are considered critical in strengthening Disaster Risk Management across regions and leveraging Germany’s efforts in a multi-hazard Early Warning System coverage in Asia.”
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