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Int’l Day for Disaster Risk Reduction being observed today

ISLAMABAD: International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction is being observed on Tuesday worldwide to promote a global culture of risk awareness and disaster reduction.

The day is also aimed at encouraging individuals, communities and governments to take part in building more disaster-resilient communities and nations. As a natural disaster-prone country, Pakistan has come a long way in terms of policy development, institutional capacity building, coordination and coherence.

According to a statement released by the Foreign Office, Pakistan has strengthened the response capacity of institutions at national, provincial and local district levels. The strength of governance systems was tested in the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic. The government may have successfully contained the initial outbreak but will continue to mitigate its long-term socio-economic impacts.

Pakistan launched its renewed ‘National Disaster Response Plan 2019’ to improve the level of preparedness and strengthening the response capacity. It addresses multiple potential challenges including floods, earthquakes, avalanches, droughts and industrial hazards.

On the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, Pakistan reiterates the need for redoubling of efforts under the United Nations and other international platforms including sharing of experiences, knowledge and transfer of technology to mitigate risks and save lives.

According to the United Nations, this year’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction is all about governance. It said that good disaster risk governance can be measured in the number of lives saved, reduced numbers of disaster-affected people and reduced economic losses.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the climate emergency have taught to have a clear vision and competent, empowered institutions acting on scientific evidence for the public good.

This requires having national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction in place by the end of the year. The UN called on the need to have strategies that address not just single hazards like floods and storms, but those that respond to systemic risk generated by zoonotic diseases, climate shocks and environmental breakdown.

It stated national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction must be multi-sectoral, linking policies in areas such as land use, building codes, public health, education, agriculture, environmental protection, energy, water resources, poverty reduction and climate change adaptation to build a more resilient planet for future generations.

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