By Biljana Markova
Brussels - Accounting for disaster losses in Serbia gained considerable ground at a special training event focusing on how to use DESINVENTAR as an effective tool to support decision-making about investments on prevention measures.
“Today, the Republic of Serbia has taken a major step towards a comprehensive disaster risk reduction strategy. Thanks to the development and implementation of disaster losses accounting, Serbia has started building a mechanism allowing for evidence-based, informed decision-making in regards to investments on prevention measures that are also sustainable. This will help to integrate and further improve disaster risk management capacity,” said Luca Rossi, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Programme Officer, at the event on 15 December.
Ivan Baras from the Serbian Ministry of Interior, Sector for Emergency Management, said: “This is an important achievement, which proves once again Serbia’s capacity to learn from past disasters, such as the severe floods last summer, and to move forward. Recording loss data is crucial to capture the full dimension of catastrophes and to foster prevention policies, which should be integrated with the response capacity.”
The event was attended by over 40 participants from the National Platform for disaster risk reduction (NP), including representatives from the Serbian Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, and the Office for Reconstruction and Flood Relief of the Government of the Republic of Serbia. Further, participants included the OSCE Mission in Serbia and implementing partner and representative of the Italian NP - the International Centre on Environmental Monitoring (CIMA) Research Foundation. that participated in the training, which took place in Belgrade and was organized by the Ministry of Interior UNISDR and CIMA Research Foundation, within the framework of the Swiss-funded UNISDR-OSCE project "Strengthening the capacity of coordination mechanisms for disaster risk reduction in the OSCE Region.”
Irena Vojácková-Sollorano, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Serbia, said: “UNDP has been working in close cooperation with the Serbian government on the recovery from the extensive flood events in May and June of this year. It is of utmost relevance that the reconstruction will be based on safety criteria, which take in consideration climate change adaptation measures, avoid the creation of new risks and are in line with sustainable development plans. The cooperation with UNISDR has allowed further improvement of this capacity and we look forward to a resilient Serbia”.
In addition to identifying disaster losses accounting to be crucial to address future investments on prevention measures, the event also provided for the opportunity to further discuss the implementation of a comprehensive disaster risk reduction (DRR) approach, including the development of a better legal framework, specifically targeting DRR measures, and further promotion of disaster insurance solutions.
Following the Swiss chairmanship of OSCE this year, Serbia is preparing to take the chair in 2015 and as such has agreed to embrace the DRR agenda. Specifically, areas of interest will include fire and flood management, public-private partnerships (PPPs), disaster losses data collection and local level engagement.
The Swiss-funded OSCE-UNISDR Project “Strengthening the capacity of national coordination mechanisms for disaster risk reduction in the OSCE Region” has allowed for more evidence-based National Platform actions towards increased financial investments in disaster risk reduction. Addressing the development of disaster losses data collection, the ongoing project has achieved wide adoption of the use of the system amongst beneficiary countries due to increased engagement with the UNISDR Regional Office for Europe. The project allowed a significant increase in disaster losses accounting for risk informed public policy and investments for the broader European region.