With technical assistance from UNDP and UNISDR, National Committee for Disaster Management hosted its first consultative workshop on development of National Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cambodia.
Phnom Penh, April 05, 2019–Disaster risk reduction and resilience building require strong leadership and policies to mitigate negative hazard impacts in any society. As the Royal Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia progresses from previous plans into the National Strategic Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction (NAP-DRR) 2019 – 2023, an opportunity arises for the government and relevant stakeholders to focus on improving such governance, policies and actions.
Consistent with the goals outlined in the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Rectangular Strategy IV, the NAP-DRR 2019-2023 is expected to prioritize and articulates guidelines, references and direction for all stakeholders on the implementation of disaster risk reduction in Cambodia over the next 5 years. Such a plan comes at a particularly relevant point of Cambodia’s economic context, as sustainable development cannot be inextricably separated from effective disaster risk reduction.
At the first official policy consultation event held at Phnom Penh Hotel on 5th of April 2019, also attended by Ms. Pauline Tamesis, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Cambodia, His Excellency Yin Khunphoy stated [from the last NAP-DRR] “we have many learnings - when there are floods and other disasters, those first affected are children, those with disability, the elderly and women. Disasters hinder our social and economic development. It effects the livelihoods of vulnerable people…poverty cannot be eliminated, and sustainable development cannot work without disaster risk reduction.” The NAP-DRR 2019-2023 will articulate what and how to implement DRR at a national level, resulting from extensive analysis of the previous plans and consultation with key stakeholders including local and national government, United Nations agencies, Non-Government Organizations and technical institutions.
“Cambodia is doing quite a lot and is well poised for significant disaster risk reduction. Consultation on the NAP-DRR comes at a critical time as across the region we are seeing unprecedented disaster events”, said Mrs. Loretta Hieber Girardet, head of UNISDR Regional Office for Asia Pacific at the first official policy consultation event held at Phnom Penh Hotel on 5th of April 2019.
NAP-DRR 2019 – 2023 will supersede the government’s previous policies, NAP-DRR 2014-2018 and the Strategic National Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction (SNAP-DRR 2008-2012). The previous plans have primarily aligned with the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015.
Representing UNDP Cambodia, Ms. Rany Pen, Assistant Resident Representative, expressed her gratitude on the presence of line ministries in the process. This process of NAP-DRR is linked to other UNDP-initiated activities in Cambodia, including Post Disaster Needs Assessment initiative that UNDP and NCDM started in 2018 as well as Early Warning System, which requires multi-sectoral intervention. The hope is that this NAP-DRR can link all the dots that could further enhance capacities of Cambodia.
A mid-term review demonstrated partial to moderate achievement on many of the NAP-DRR 2014-2018 activities and identified several recommendations moving forward including increased focus on DRR at sub-national level and developing improved coordination. Alignment of NAP-DRR 2014-2018 with the Sustainable Development Goals has been a specific challenge identified in a national level consultation meeting hosted by the National Committee for Disaster Management and UN Development Programme in July last year.
Mr. Sanny Ramos Jegillos, Senior Advisor, Climate/Disaster Resilience and Recovery, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub explained that the development of the 2019-2023 NAP-DRR policy gives opportunity for strong alignment with other resilience agenda beyond Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR 2015-2030); to mention some: Paris Agreement for Climate Change and Sustainable Development Goals. Such global frameworks focus less on managing disasters than their predecessors and instead emphasize reducing risk. “The NAP-DRR reflects the commitment of Cambodia to support implementation of a global framework on disaster risk reduction and response and the Paris Agreement on Climate change,” stated His Excellency Yin Khunphoy. “The NAP-DRR 2019 - 2023 should build more comprehensively on what we have already achieved.”
The NAP-DRR will align not only with the various international development frameworks, but also national laws and guidelines. The upcoming NAP-DRR could be instrumental in translating the Royal Government of Cambodia’s national Disaster Management Law, promulgated in 2015 into the disaster risk reduction action plans, reflecting the interlinkages between policy and actions at national level; further emphasized by Mr. Muhibuddin Usamah, Disaster Risk Management Specialist of UNDP Cambodia. During the consultative workshop, Mr. Usamah also unpacked the previous NAP DRR and various related policies including Cambodia’s Climate Change Strategic Plan (2014-2023) and Ministerial Plan on DRR and Climate Change (e.g. Plan for Action for DRR in Agriculture (2014-2018) and Ministry of Environment’s Climate Change Action Plan.
As part of the recent consultative workshop, key stakeholders reflected on successes, challenges, and key lessons learned during the implementation of the previous policy. Groups discussed proposed priority actions across 5 areas including understanding risk, disaster risk governance, investing in/financing DRR, enhancing preparedness and build back better, and ensuring coherence and inclusiveness. The discussion was based on the established UNISDR’s approaches and processes for developing and implementing SFDRR-aligned DRR strategies, which was also presented by UNISDR during the consultative workshop.
The event is the first of a series of consultative workshops to be held before the NAP-DRR 2019-2023 policy is expected to be endorsed and disseminated in 2019. This process would also be used in refining the Standard Operational Procedure of Early Warning System in Cambodia, a parallel process led by UNDP Cambodia in Strengthening Climate Information and Early Warning System, funded by the GEF.
This press release is written by Kelsea Clingeleffer and Muhibuddin Usamah, UNDP Cambodia.
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