European External Action Service (EEAS)
Almaty – Projects supported by the European Union in Central Asia have had a significant impact in helping communities to be better prepared for natural disasters. The European Union's Disaster Preparedness Programme (DipECHO) has invested €46 million in over 100 projects across the region, supporting both the population and the governments of the region in preparing for and mitigating the consequences of natural disasters since 2003. The countries that have benefited are Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
“This significant contribution over the years underlines the European Union’s commitment to the people of Central Asia, which DipECHO has contributed to make a safer place”, said Androulla Kaminara, Director of Operations for the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations."We are very proud of what has been achieved in the different countries of the region: innumerable communities are today better prepared to cope with the natural hazards that affect them, and disaster risk reduction has become an integral part of government policies."
Having delivered on its objectives through DipECHO - namely to support local communities in better preparing for and coping with recurring natural disasters; to promote the evolution of sustainable national DRR strategies in the five central Asian countries; and to encourage regional co-operation and knowledge sharing - EU support for disaster preparedness will from now onwards be channeled through development funding instruments. These will be defined in coordination with the respective governments in the region and will build on the experience and knowledge amassed from the DipECHO programme.
The European Union together with its Member States is the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity towards people in need around the world. It aims at saving lives, preventing and alleviating human suffering, and safeguarding the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises. The European Commission, through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid department provides relief assistance to over 120 million victims of conflicts and natural disasters every year.
Launched in 1996, the Disaster Preparedness programme (DipECHO) is the core element of the European Commission's Disaster Risk Reduction global efforts. The key goal of the programme is to increase communities' resilience and reduce their vulnerability. DipECHO is a people-oriented programme, helping communities at risk of disasters to better prepare themselves by undertaking training, establishing or improving local early warning systems and contingency planning. It also encourages citizens, civil society groups and local, regional and national authorities to work more effectively together, and advocates for the integration of DRR efforts into development aid in order to ensure sustainable policies, particularly in countries at high risk.