Regional coordination essential for effective crisis mitigation in the Arab region

30 Jul 2014

imageArab Countries seek to establish a Regional Crisis Response Network in collaboration with the League of Arab States, the European Union and UNDP. Photo: UNDP

In Spring 2014, crisis response officials from 20 Arab countries started in Amman meetings of the first regional conference “Towards a Crisis Response Network in the Arab Region”. They discussed means to enhance the regional architecture for crisis management in order to link and strengthen national institutions, operating procedures, and capacities in early warning and crisis response.

Held under the patronage of HRH King Abdullah the Second, Monarch of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the conference established an Arab regional network that provides simple, realistic and effective mechanisms of coordination and cooperation between all national bodies responsible for managing crises in the Arab states.

The Secretary-General of the League of Arab States (LAS), HE Nabil Al-Araby, and the Prime Minister of Jordan, HE Abdallah EnNssour, inaugurated the event together with UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Arab States, Sima Bahous, and Agostino Miozzo, Managing Director of the Crisis Response Department in the European External Action Service (EEAS). The event was hosted by the Jordanian National Center for Security and Crisis Management.  

“In our current Arab reality, we cannot afford any limitations to our national and regional capacities to anticipate, analyse, prevent and respond to threats to sustainable human development and stability posed by natural and man-made disasters,” stressed Secretary-General Al-Araby. “We are leading by example and building the League’s capacity in this domain with resolve and persistence.”

This conference came at the close of a joint project agreed between the League of Arab States and the EU and implemented by UNDP focusing on strengthening the crisis response capacities of LAS. This project established a crisis management platform at LAS, which provides a pan-Arab early warning and crisis response system that facilitates timely and efficient responses to natural and man-made disasters, covering the areas of prevention, mitigation and recovery.

“UNDP’s new Strategic Plan 2014-2017 puts building the resilience of people, communities and countries to prevent and recover from crises as one of three priorities of its development work,” said UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States, Sima Bahous. “There is no other region in the world where such a priority is more important than the Arab region.”

Given the numerous crises the Arab region is currently facing, Lieutenant Reda Btoush, Vice Chairman National Center for Security & Crisis Management, praised the importance of establishing a Pan-Arab network. He described the current status quo of the Arab region as 'tough', adding: "Over the past couple of years, our region have faced, and is still facing, complex, rather full-fledged crises which have drastically changed all the rules and perspectives. A critical stage which further added to the importance of enhancing the process of managing the crisis department that, consequently, became a national duty."

The conference discussed four basic issues related to the establishment of the regional network, including the need for an Arab Crisis Response Network in light of existing threats and risks; capacities required for effective crisis management in the region, at national and regional levels; regional and international best practices in the field of Early Warning and Crisis Response; other infrastructure requirements to strengthen regional crisis management; and defining and operational agenda for the creation of an Arab crisis management network.

“This event in Amman marked a special milestone in the relations between the EU, the League of Arab States, UNDP and Jordan. It is also a milestone in the evolution of crisis management,” said Agostino Miozzo, Managing Director of the Crisis Response Department in the European External Action Service. “The EU intends to maintain a firm commitment in the region and with the League. A new cooperation program is being studied and discussed with the leadership of the League, and in this new program we intend to boost the Pan-Arab Early Warning and Early Action Mechanism.”

Supporting efforts to establish the Arab Crisis Response Network is expected to be the main concern of the second phase of collaboration between the League of Arab States, the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme. This phase is expected to be implemented over the period 2014-2017.

Contact Information

In League of Arab States:
Heba Gamal Adel El Khalek, Tel: +20 (10) 0630 1040, Email: heba.khalek@las.int

UNDP
in Cairo: Noeman M M AlSayyad, Tel: +20 (10) 0181 1876, Email: noeman.alSayyad@undp.org

UNDP in New York: Theodore Murphy, Tel: +1 (212) 906 5890, Email: theodore.murphy@undp.org