Quetta, May 26, 2010: First ever three day training on “Incorporating Environmental Concerns into Disaster Risk Management “ jointly organized by IUCN Pakistan and Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) was held in Quetta. This was the first training of its kind held, not only in Balochistan, but also in Pakistan.
The training objectives were:
• To familiarize / referesh the participants knowledge about the basic concepts, principles, components and approaches to the Disaster Risk Management.
• Highlight the importance of ecosystem services and benefits and their role on disaster risk management
• Provide guidelines to the participants about incorporating environmental concerns into disaster risk management.
The training was attended by experts from seven districts of the province namely Gwadar, Lasbela, Mastung, Pishin, Qila Saifullah, Ziarat and Quetta. Executive Officers of Revenue and Finance and Planning of these districts, representatives from civil society organizations, I/NGO, expert from IUCN Srilanka Mr. Ali Raza Rizi, and people from print and electronic media attended.
The speakers emphasized on the need to mainstream Disaster Risk Reduction into all development activities to tackle calamities like floods, earthquakes and other natural and human induced disasters.
Speaking to the participants during his presentation, Mr. Zabardast Khan Bangash, Manager IUCN Balochistan Programme said frequently increasing incidences and intensity of natural disasters and climate change are having over-arching impacts on the environments. Resultantly sustainable development is being undermined. One of the key reasons why this damage continues is that an integrated approach is adopted rarely in disaster risk management. Relief organizations may focus on damage to life and property while others examine impacts on livelihoods. Very often, ecological services and their indirect economic values are omitted completely from assessments. Mainstreaming ecosystem concerns – both ecological and economical – into the development agenda and integrating them into disaster management, therefore, becomes essential.
He recalled that after the 1935 earthquake of Quetta, people used to build their houses with bamboos and mud to save them from future earthquakes whereas now the situation is opposite. He lamented that once Quetta was known as a healthy hill station for the sick people but now the multi-story buildings can be seen every where and no governmental authorities are paying attention to stop this menace of violating the building construction code.
He highlighted various types of vulnerabilities including physical, cultural, social, economic and political. He also elaborated that goals of development could not be obtained without mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management into policy and practice. He emphasized that the importance of integrating environmental safeguards at each step of the disaster management cycle. IUCN regional expert Mr. Ali Raza Rizvi delivered a comprehensive presentation and explained that due to non-adaptation of the DRM principles economy of many countries have collapsed whenever they face any disaster. He stressed on the need to strengthen the ecosystem which mitigates the impacts of disasters. He informed that due to cutting of the mangroves from the coastal belt of Pakistan at large scale the important marine species are getting extinct and those left are shifting towards Iran and into the Gulf waters. He said that mangroves forests are natural barriers for the prevention of Tsunamis.
The second day activities of the training workshop were planned in the field for carrying out the DRR assessments at a project site , looking at the project activities through the frame work of the DRM guidelines. The participants identified the potential hazards at a coal storage site and carried out the risk assessment to determine the level of threats. The group work analysis of the gathered information included recommendations to incorporate the environmental safeguards into Disaster Risk Management with recommendations for future.
The third and the last day session was concluded by the Secretary Services and General Administration (S&GAD) Qazi Shahid Pervaiz. He congratulated IUCN and PDMA for successfully organizing this three day training workshop. He appreciated IUCN Balochistan for facilitating the government line departments, civil society, and other stakeholders. He assured that the government will take care of this aspect of disaster in policy making at provincial as well as federal level. Certificates were distributed among the participants by the chief guest in the end of the event.
For more information, please contact:
Ms. Faryal Ahmed
Communication & ESD Officer
Balochistan Partnerships for Sustainable Development
IUCN Balochistan Office
Marker Cottage, Zarghoon Road
Tel: + 92 81 2840450
About IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)
Created in 1948, IUCN brings together 83 States, 111 government agencies, 800 plus NGOs, and some 10,000 scientists and experts from 148 countries in a unique worldwide partnership. The Union’s mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.
The Union is the world's largest environmental knowledge network and has helped over 75 countries to prepare and implement national conservation and biodiversity strategies. The Union is a multicultural, multilingual organization with 1,000 staff located in 62 countries. Its headquarters are in Gland, Switzerland.
IUCN Pakistan has programmes from the north to the south of the country and multiple field projects. It is one of the nine Country Offices of IUCN's Asia Programme, covering 23 countries with a workforce of nearly 500.