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Sunday, 26 February 2012


I. Second Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (New
Delhi, November 7-8, 2007):
1. Prime Minister's Address to the Conference:
Need to Work Together to Deal with Man-Made Disasters:
Addressing the 2nd Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stressed that modern societies must prepare to come to deal with man-made disasters - be they industrial disasters or disasters caused by terrorists attacks.
Terrorism Could Trigger Disasters Across Borders:
Dr. Singh warned that the threat of terrorism looms large in many parts of the region
and could trigger disasters across the border. Pakistan, blamed for launching a proxy war on India by sponsoring terrorism, is going through a crisis and has witnessed some of the worst terrorist attacks in the region.
Need for Asian Countries to Cooperate in Finding Solutions to the Challenges Posed by Disasters:The Prime Minister emphasised that the Asian nations need to cooperate to find collective solutions to the challenges that face them. He cited the example of health disasters like HIV and avian influenza that can play havoc across borders. Earthquakes, floods, cyclones and tsunami have caused disasters across Asia and hence Asia as a region needed more bilateral and regional cooperation to make effective use of each nation's capabilities, according to Dr. Singh.
Need to Replicate the Regional Cooperation in the Tsunami Early Warning System:
The Prime Minister asked the Asian nations to replicate the regional cooperation extended in the creation of a Tsunami Early Warning System.
2. Delhi Declaration Adopted:
A 26 action point Delhi Declaration was adopted at the conclusion of the conference.
Call to Take Specific Measures for Reducing the Risk of Disasters:
The Declaration called upon national governments and other stakeholders to take specific measures for reducing risks of disasters in Asia and its different sub-regions.
Call for taking action along the Hyogo framework:
The Declaration called for taking action along the Hyogo framework, mainstreaming
disaster risk reduction, early warning and preparedness, climate change, integration of disaster risk reduction into recovery and reconstruction, partnerships and regional mechanisms.
Biennial Asian Ministerial Conference Would be Expanded into a Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction:
The Declaration affirmed that the biennial Asian Ministerial Conference, which started
in Beijing in 2005, would be expanded into a regional platform for disaster risk reduction, with participation by the national governments, regional and sub-regional organisations, UN agencies, international financial institutions and other stakeholders including civil society, scientific and technical organisations, private sector and the media.
3. Conference by Rotation to Review the Action Taken by National Governments:
The conference would be held once in two years by rotation in different Asian countries to review the action taken by the national governments and other stakeholders for implementing the Hyogo framework for action, take stock of initiatives taken in various sub-regions for promoting and enhancing cooperation among the nations within and outside the governments for disaster risk reduction.
4. The next conference would be held in Kuala Lumpur.
5. Significance of the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction:
Brought Countries of the Region on One Platform to Share their Views on Disaster Risk Reduction: Analysts opine that the very fact that delegates from 50 countries participated in the conference points out that the multilateral body has brought countries from the region on one platform to share their views on disaster risk reduction in Asia and its different sub-regions.
Holding of the Conference an Indicator of the Willingness to Cooperate in Combating Disasters:
Analysts point out that the holding of the conference itself was good sign of the willingness of the countries of the region to cooperate in combating disasters.
Declaration Refers to Both Natural and Man-Made Disasters:
The Delhi Declaration adopted at the end of the Conference refers to both natural as well as man-made disasters, the latter referring to terrorism.
II. Conclusion:
1. Need to Find Collective and Cooperative Solutions to the Challenges Posed by Disasters:
Addressing the UN General Assembly in November 2007, India's delegate Prabha Thakur pointed out that all countries were vulnerable to disasters. She stressed that nations must find collective and cooperative solutions to the challenges that disasters represented.
2. Need for Better Disaster Mitigation Efforts:
India stressed on the need for the use of latest technologies, bilateral, regional and international cooperation as well as providing insurance at affordable rates in vulnerable areas to mitigate the effects of disasters. India also emphasised that better efforts were required for disaster prevention, risk reduction and early warnings so as to save the lives lost due to disasters.
3. Disaster Management a Major Discipline:
According to Vinod Chandra Menon, a member of the NDMA, disaster management was emerging as a major discipline involving the administration of emergency medicine, search and rescue, remote sensing, institutional networking and gender issues.
4. Strengthening the Monitoring System by Operationalising the Tsunami Early Warning System:
The Centre has emphasised that the disaster monitoring system would be strengthened by the Operationalisation of the Tsunami Early Warning System in November 2007.
5. New Integrated Operations Centre:
The Union Home Ministry's new Integrated Operations Centre is now equipped with latest satellite communication equipment, digital maps, laptops with LAN network and video conference facility with links to all State and district control rooms in the country. This has been done to avoid wastage of crucial time in crisis management.
6. Disaster Management and Mitigation Policy to Turn Disasters Into Opportunities for Development:
The Union Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, announced that the Government's proposed Disaster Management and Mitigation Policy would focus on a new orientation to turn disasters into development opportunities rather than focussing on relief and rehabilitation.
The policy would ensure that structures are developed from top to bottom with great stress being laid on the involvement of district administration, panchayati raj, municipalities and nagarpalikas so that these local bodies are directly help responsible for managing and mitigating disasters and turning them into developm

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