UN Observances//ContentCo-GNN/ – 28th October, 2015
Featured News Report on the Historic UN-IDDR Observance 2015.
By: UNISDR Special Correspondents.
Disasters can occur anywhere, anytime, at any location, to any society. The past few decades have witnessed a significant increase in natural disasters. According to the UN statistics, nearly 400-500 natural disasters and calamities take place annually. Major vicissitudes and overall global variations like climate change, loss of biodiversity, constant and rapid environmental degradation, ozone forfeiture mutilations and global warming are the key reasons and causative emancipations to disasters increase. The devastative consequences of such cataclysms, that are posed with the detrimental damages to the global communities, their infrastructures and in their overall socio-economic set-ups, are becoming exceedingly and alarmingly high. Asia’s 2004-Tsunami alone, devastated over 6 countries, leaving over 3 million as homeless, hundreds of thousands as displaced, with a toll rate exceeding 2,80,000.
IDDR and its Importance:
In view of the afore-mentioned corresponding facts, the United Nations designated an International Observance Day for Disaster Reduction, in 1989 with the approval by it’s General Assembly. The UN General Assembly sees the IDDR as a way to promote a global culture of disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness. Originally celebrated as per resolution 44/236, 22 December 1989, the UN General Assembly decided to designate 10/13 as the date to celebrate the IDDR (resolution 64/200, 21 December 2009).
International Day for Disaster Reduction is a day to celebrate how people and communities are reducing their risk to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of DRR. It’s also a day to encourage every citizen and government to take part in building more disaster resilient communities and nations.
The European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva, seizes the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) as an opportunity to reflect on the risks and dangers in one’s community.
The Impact-significance of IDDR 2015:
As the year 2015, categorically marks the last round-up for Hyogo Framework of Action, and serves as the concluding-finale for the United Nations’ MDGs, the celebrations got an extraordinary extended elegance.
Last year, the ‘Step-up Initiative’ (2011-2014) focused on a different group of partners every year leading up to the World Conference for Disaster Reduction in 2015.
The 2015’s theme for the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction was ‘Knowledge for Life’. The focus of this year’s IDDR was on the traditional, indigenous and local knowledge which complement modern science and add to an individual’s and societies’ resilience.
The day and its theme “Knowledge for Life” were used to boost multi-segmental awareness of disaster risk reduction across the world.
The IDDR Observance Adherences around the Globe:
Various organizations, groups and institutions around the world; from Kathmandu to Canberra, and from Addis Ababa to Beijing. are celebrating the UN-IDDR from 11/13 through end of the month, followed by different workshops, thematic seminars and symposiums.
During the institutional celebrations, people find themselves in a transformative sort of company alongside the UN family, the Kofi Annan Foundation, the International Telecommunications Union, Global Health Workforce Alliance, the World Meteorological Organization, the Tear Fund, ODI, UNESCO-SAARC Academic Alliance, the Axa Research Fund, SAARC-ASEAN Post-doc Academia, Inspectorate for Emergency Situation Petrodava Romania, Southwest Neighborhood Assembly (SWNA), SAIRI Research Initiative Pakistan, NARRI Consortium Bangladesh, Plan International Laos and several others UNISDR’s partner for this year’s campaign.
Noteworthy IDDR events were hosted by the Lisbon City Council through the Civil Protection Department Portugal, Save the children International, Department of Health Washington DC, Conference Centre of Tien Giang People Committee, Saritsa Foundation, India, SAARC-ASEAN Postdoc Academia and Global Health Workforce Alliance.
In Asia, this year, the special focus of the International Day for Disaster Reduction (UN-IDDR) observances across the region was on DESPO-Asia Appraisal’s indicators, including the needs and priority recommendations for a better planning and understanding of disaster risk in disasters prone communities. IDDR 2015 intended to switch on and amplify the critical DESPO indications, now and for the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.
The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) of Jamaica joined the United Nation International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) in commemorating International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) 2015.
Indonesia marks IDDR by piloting a National Conference on Community Based DRR, organized by Indonesia’s Disaster Management Society, in collaboration with Plan International.
Plan International also organizes a National Symposium on DRR and Resilience, in Kathmandu. Nepal.
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The United Nations IDDR-WSDPD Convergent Observance:
Since the role of science cannot be over-sighted in the DRR contexts, the fortnight-long celebrations across the globe are followed by a 10 days ‘SAARC-ASEAN Post-doc DRR Thematic Confluence’, which would be concluded up by a convergence of IDDR to the UN’s World Science Day for Peace and Development UN-WSDPD-2015 observance.
Special Focus on Marginalized Groups and DESPO Recommendations:
According to the world statistics, there are some 1970 million marginalized people (disableds + Pregnant women + people aged over 60) – that’s over 25% of the global population. By 2050, it is estimated that there will be nearly as many people aged 60 or over as children under 15: 2.02 billion compared with 2.03 billion, according to the world statistics.
The statistics-based, facts correspondingly invoke the irrepressible essentiality of a mandatory and obligatory call for disasters’ preparedness at all levels, i.e. the governments, the NGOs, the private sectors and the public segments, all have to step up for an ‘Integrative Preparedness’ for Disasters Risk Reduction (IP-DRR).
The IP-DRR cross-disciplinary and cross-sectorial Deca-archic ISDR Model of disaster management, was first conceptualized and introduced by SAIRI’s multi-disciplinary arch-researcher and Asian DRR P.I. Professor Qadhi Aurangzeb Hafi of Pakistan, who foremostly brought forth and orchestrated the concepts of ‘disability-inclusive and pregnancy-inclusive protocols’ in disasters management policy frameworks during the first epidemiological assessment appraisals of Tsunami 2004. Now the IP-DRR modus-operandi of Aurangzeb Hafi Deca-archic ISDR Model and DESPO appraisal, have been formally adopted as a principal operative modality for Post-Hyogo and Sendai Frameworks of Action, by all major initiatives for disasters risk reduction, led by the UN.
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The Keynote Messages:
On the occasion of IDDR 2015, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a message highlighting the significance of indigenous knowledge in disaster risk reduction (DRR), “Traditional and indigenous knowledge is the indispensable information base for many societies seeking to live in harmony with nature and adapt to disruptive weather events, a warming globe and rising seas.”
Keynote messages for IDDR observance and the relevant themes, include those from: Kristalina Georgieva-The European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, UNISDR Head, Margareta Wahlström, Toby Porter-Chief Executive Help Age International, Justice(R) Dr. S.S. Paru-Chancellor Emeritus SAARC-ASEAN Postdoc Academia, Dr. Rick Brennan-WHO’s Director of Emergency Risk Management and Humanitarian Response, Professor Aurangzeb Hafi-P.I.SAIRI Post-doc Multiversity for the UN-MDGs, Dasho Dzongdag-Governor of Punakha Dzongkhag The Department of Disaster Management under the Ministry of Home & Cultural Affairs, Bhutan, Peggy Keller-MPH, Director of Community Preparedness and Resilience, Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Administration Washington DC, Professor Emeritus Dr. Zaki and Dr. Faiser N.M.-Directors, SAARC Post-doc Academia, Silvia Stefanoni-Director of Policy and Strategy, HelpAge International, Noel Arscott-Jamaica’s Minister with responsibility for Disaster Management, Tom Mitchell-Head of Climate and Environment, Dr. Khalida M. Khan-Holder of the UNESCO Chair for Watershed Management, Dr. M.S.S Salawal Salah-Consultant SAARC Disasters Management Committee and Dr. Wickrema Weerasooria-Former Sri Lankan High Commissioner in New Zealand and Australia.
Community Health Workers and DRR:
Community health workers understand their communities’ health risks, behaviours and practices. Drawing on their own culture, traditions and values, they can play a critical role in mitigating health risks resulting from emergencies and disasters. Worldwide, community health workers have been praised in recent years for the broad range of health services they provide – from skilled assistance during childbirth to preventive health education. However, scarce attention has been paid to the role of community health workers in preparedness for, response to and recovery from disasters.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, agreed by governments in March 2015, gives new impetus to focus attention on “developing the capacity of health workers in understanding disaster risk and applying and implementing disaster risk reduction approaches in health work; and supporting and training community health groups in disaster risk reduction approaches in health programmes, in collaboration with other sectors.”
Advent-emergence of KAKHTAH Multiversity DRR Scholarship in Asia:
The official citation of the United Nations’ IDDR-WSDPD Observance of 2015 states that,
“As a testament of the meritorious renderings that made some ‘difference’ in DRR executional framework reprieves in the aftermaths of the Asian Tsunami of 2004-the highest-observed devastating catastrophe of the recorded history of last millennium’s natural cataclysms, a ‘DRR Selection Slate’ was made with a view to reckon-surmise the real ‘on-ground impact factor’ of different institutional entities, relief projects and individuals with reference to the UN’s Sendai and Post-HFA frameworks in global DRR perspectives.
Besides the utmost wreckage-desolations, that quite austerely devastated and shattered almost 9 main oceanic sectors of Asia, including the hard-hit coastal zones of Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India and Sumatra, and its unprecedented scale of destruction, Tsunami-2004 brought forth a way to measure the real impact factor in terms of the actual ‘on-ground renderings’ conceded thereupon.
The DRR Selection Slate draped a summing-up of 17 out-scored projects and 21 organizations.
Noteworthy amongst them are; Save the Children, SOS, Rotary International, the Oxfam, MAVSO Intl, Shadow Intl., and some regional and local organizations.
In order to typify the ‘difference’ introduced thereupon, an opinion poll was customizedly commissioned in hard-hit areas, in order to have the affectees their own say for- ‘who did what for them’ – that brought some meant-content for them in the aftermaths of the crucial most catastrophe.
The outcome of ‘Tsunami Opinion Polls’, coupled with inter-institutional and academic consensus, evoked the unanimity in lieu of a historic resolution for instituting KAKHTAH multiversity medal, named after those who became responsible for bringing forth some real ‘difference’ during the hard test of human solidarity, through their meritorious renderings.
The On-ground DRR Impact Factor (DRR-IF):
“The highest impact factor (IF), particularly in DRR perspectives, is the actual ‘On-ground IF’ of the ‘Humanitarian et Meritorious’ renderings-which do speak for themselves and, deservedly worth to be solidified in history archives’ testimonials for the centuries and generations to come” the SAARC-ASEAN HFA Confluence of IDDR-WSDPD Convergent Observance of 2015, hereby adopts the resolution and acclaims under the UN resolutions and conventions on the subject, entailing the DRR/HFA, for posthumously instituting a multiversity ‘KAKHTAH’ scholarship medal for outstanding doctoral and post-doctoral research studies on DRR”, says the UN IDDR-WSDPD Convergent Observance of 2015.
The multiversity ‘KAKHTAH’ scholarship gets its standing-ovation to be named after two institutional entities and two individuals; 1. Kofi Annan – the former UN secretary general, who paid prompt visits in far-remote affected areas with an aim to have a first-hand knowledge of the ground situation. He himself prompted for the actual circumstantial state-of-affairs, instead of relying on the executive summaries-rightly setting a new custom and tradition in the hierarchical pyramids, 2. Helen Keller Intl. – a US based international organization that immediately incited the emergency humanitarian services in Tsunami’s Indonesia’s hardest-hit regions, saving the lives where needed right by the moment of need, 3. Tzu-chi Intl. – a multi-regional NGO from Taiwan, having one of the largest networks with representations and physical presence in almost all continents throughout the world, whose volunteers remained on-board for over three years for long-term Tsunami relief works, 4. Prof. Aurangzeb Hafi – an independent multidisciplinary arch-researcher and philanthropist from Pakistan, who foremostly conceptualized, directed, and almost single-handedly kept-paced all major research projects concerning the disability related constituencies and ivories during Tsunami. On account of ‘disability inclusiveness’ trend-settings, Prof. Hafi can justly be credited for pioneering the cutting-edge concepts of pre-birth multiple disabilities risk assessment, embryonic toxicity and teratogenic proneness factor analysis among pregnant women and the disability+pregnancy inclusive special protocols in cataclysmic emergencies and DRR modus of executional frameworks.
The new-fangled scholarship medal is proclaimed to be bestowed onto an entire-some accretion of over 1900 global academic ivories. The medal escorted with a 2.7 Million GBP scholarship, would be bequeathed on a biennium basis, for estimable post-doctoral research works of deservingly significant virtues, in the areas of disaster management, catastrophic policy lay-outs, cataclysmic forecasting and calamity prevention methodologies.
The seven members KAKHTAH conferring jury includes national and regional academic celebrities. It would be chaired by Justice(R) S.S. Paru, L.L.D., D.Litt., from Indonesia and co-chaired by Dr. Faiser N.M. from Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s ombudsman Dr. Wickrema Weerasooria, would be serving as the senior assessor of jury. Dr. Weerasooriya had been Sri Lankan High Commissioner in New Zealand and Australia, and has served federal and state ministries in various capacities for over fifteen years. The jury would take all noteworthy research works of relevance into deliberations on a biennium basis, in order to subjugate scholarship worthiness of the research.
Special annotation notes of thanks have been made to the Government of Sri Lanka, for the approval of conceding a three-days KAKHTAH-DRR postal stamp, and establishing a KAKHTAH Tsunami Forecasting Centre, in the names of benevolent stalwarts.
Distinct acknowledgements, on account of furthering the DRR goals in HFA and Post-HFA perspectives, have been made for the International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN, which helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges.
IDDR celebrations of 2015 would end up by the concluding term of SAARC-ASEAN NPAW-DRR Symposium and UN IDDR-WSDPD-2015 Convergent Confluence under the aegis of UNESCO, by 11/10/2015. The confluence consists of 23 formal academic sessions, over 67 workshops and 49 high-level round the table panel discussions.
Well-attended by the academic luminaries across the planet, IDDR-2015 celebrations embrace more than 3000 policy papers on disasters management policy frameworks. The research précis of policy frameworks are primed for UN-DRR Hyogo-Sendai Frameworks and other segments of relevance.