Smart disaster risk management saves lives: Royal Government of Cambodia and UNDP push for greater coordination in reducing disaster risk

Source(s): United Nations Development Programme - Cambodia

Following on the heels of the Asia Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction in Mongolia earlier this month, Cambodia’s National Committee for Disaster Management and the UN Development Programme today hosted consultations on implementation and monitoring of the world’s first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

“The impacts of disasters put the poor in the most vulnerable position, especially women and children,” said Secretary General of the National Committee for Disaster Management, His Excellency Lam Heng Huot. “The Royal Government of Cambodia places the highest emphasis on disaster risk reduction – I call on all partners to continue to collaborate with the Government, through the National Committee of Disaster Management, in reducing the impacts of climate change and disasters, which also contributes to poverty reduction in our country.”

Cambodia is no stranger to natural calamities. In 2015 the country suffered what is considered the worst drought in around half a century. In late 2013, floods affected 20 of Cambodia 25 provinces, killing over 180 people and affecting more than 1.7 million. Floods in 2011, took over 245 lives and destroyed crops and infrastructure. A report published by the Government in June found that, if the global rise in temperatures is kept below 2° Celsius by 2100, and Cambodia maintains current levels of investment in adaptation, climate change will reduce Cambodia’s GDP by 9.8 percent in 2050.

Currently efforts by various organizations in reducing disaster risk in Cambodia are fragmented and there is no strategy on implementing disaster risk reduction in alignment with the objectives of the Sendai Framework.

“The meeting today is really needed to enhance collective understanding of the Framework. Most importantly, it is critical to helping the National Committee for Disaster Management better coordinate efforts in reducing disaster risk. Essentially, this means saved lives – not if, but when, disasters strike.”

The event is timely, following the establishment of global indicators and the Asia Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework.

The event, attended by over 40 practitioners and partners from UN agencies and NGO’s, challenged attendees to consider how to better collectively contribute to achieving the goals of the Sendai Framework in Cambodia, taking into consideration the Government’s existing guidelines when it comes to starting new projects, and working more closely and collaboratively.

Participants also took stock of the issues and gaps impeding progress when it comes to achieving the country’s disaster risk reduction goals.

“UNDP initiated this event in partnership with NCDM because, while Cambodia has made great progress – including developing a National Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction, a Disaster Management Law, a Climate Change Strategic Plan (2014-2023), and a disaster loss and damage database – much remains to be done”, said UNDP Country Director, Nick Beresford.

The Government of Cambodia recognizes the threats natural disasters pose to community safety and development, particularly with the onset of climate change impacts. Reducing disaster risk and integrating climate adaptation are already top priorities.

Cambodia is closely collaborating with the UN system and ASEAN, especially ASEAN’s Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre) in realizing the aspiration of ‘One ASEAN, One Response’, for faster response and greater regional coordination in disasters.

With UNDP and other partners, NCDM is currently rolling out training in conducting post-disaster needs assessments, an integral part of the country’s preparedness for recovery strategy.

At the Asia Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction in Mongolia, governments including Cambodia adopted the Ulaanbaatar Declaration and Action Plan 2018-2020, calling for, among others, translating global platforms into policy and practice to achieve resilience at national level.

Cambodia issued a statement reaffirming the country’s commitment to risk reduction in order to achieve sustainable and risk resilient development.

UNDP also aims to support the Government of Cambodia in their goals to extend the country’s risk mapping and analysis, and to develop a national strategy to monitor and report on national progress in achieving the Sendai Framework.

Mr. Muhibuddin Usamah from UNDP Cambodia unpacked the National Disaster Risk Management law and the National Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction and emphasized the majority of the contents of Cambodia’s policies are relevant to the Sendai Framework.

“Important outcomes from this consultation are developing a road map as well as implementation strategies towards the Sendai Framework National Action Plan and localizing the Sendai Framework,” said Usamah. “The challenge lies in mobilizing the active participation and collaboration of all stakeholders in the country, under the leadership of the National Committee for Disaster Management as the coordinating body”.

Media enquiries

Samruol Im, Communications Analyst, UNDP Cambodia

Muhibuddin Usamah, Disaster Management Specialist, UNDP Cambodia

Additional notes to editors

For every dollar invested in reducing disaster risk, between four and seven dollars is saved in post-disaster cleanup and recovery.

Around the world, UNDP is working with governments and country partners to develop and implement strategies in reducing disaster risk, including climate change adaptation, to improve risk information and early warning systems, and to strengthen preparedness and response.

In Cambodia, UNDP was instrumental in the establishment of the NCDM and also helped establish the country’s disaster management law, enacted in July 2015.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 2015, serves as a global platform in guiding nations’ disaster risk reduction planning and programming for the 15 year period to 2030.

The Framework has targets that are objective and measurable, and data reporting mechanisms that ensure consistency in progress reporting. These could also help measuring the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and SDG 13 (Climate Action). The partnerships in risk reduction, as encouraged by the Sendai Framework, form a strong foundation for SDG 17 (Partnerships for the SDGs).

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