Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cambodia Holds Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM), in cooperation with the Cambodian National Mekong Committee (CNMC) and the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), conducted a national workshop in Phnom Penh aiming to increase knowledge sharing on Disaster Risk Reduction Planning at provincial and district levels as well as exchange practices and experiences on the integration of disaster risk reduction planning process in Cambodia.

A two day national workshop was held from January 12-13 under the sponsorship of the Flood Management and Mitigation Program (FMMP) of the Mekong River Commission Secretariat (MRCS) with funding from the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO).

Peou Samy, Secretary General of the National Committee for Disaster Management, said that this initiative is part of the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department funding to the Mekong River Committee (MRC) Secretariat of over one million Euros since 2003 in different funding cycles under its DIPECHO program.

The main objective of the national workshop is to promote the linkage of flood management and mitigation programs within disaster risk reduction initiatives in Cambodia and also to build synergies between national and local interventions by involving other stakeholders and continuing to network, share experiences, and disseminate tools in Cambodia.

“I think that by focusing on the strengthening of local and national authorities, as well as selected relevant non-government actors in flood preparedness and emergency management, the project contributes to a sustainable pro-poor development in the lower Mekong River basin,” said Samy.

The Secretary General stated that for the Mekong River Secretariat, strengthening flood preparedness and flood emergency management remain core elements of the Flood Management and Mitigation Program implemented since 2004. These directly address the need of the flood-vulnerable communities and also guide the strengthening operation of the government agencies in the member countries (at the different levels: nation, provincial, district, and communes) and of national and international NGOs. This is vital for enhancing communication, coordination, and cooperation between these stakeholders, as well as consistency of the national disaster management and mitigation policy implementation.

These experiences clearly show that increased capacity of the key officials of the provincial, district, and commune disaster management committees have led to better flood preparedness in the selected provinces in the three member countries, mainly Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos PDR, according to Samy.

The workshop focused on some of the recent initiatives on disaster risk reduction planning in Cambodia under various externally aided programs and the working models and initial steps of integration of disaster risk reduction into local development planning processes in selected provinces such as Kratie, Svay Rieng, Prey Veng and Kandal. This would also give impetus to the implementation of the Royal Cambodian Government commitment to the Hyogo Framework of Action 2005-2015.

The Secretary of State went on to say that the flood management and mitigation tools developed by MRCS have a basin-wide approach and can be applied to support local level interventions. MRCS looks into the recent EU strategy for DRR in developing countries as an opportunity to partner in reducing the flood risk in the lower Mekong River basin with the long-term regional approach towards flood resilient communities. ////

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