The Third ECO International Conference on Disaster Risk Management
(Tehran, 7-8 October, 2008)
The Third ECO International Conference on Disaster Risk Management was held in Tehran on 7-8 October, 2008. Delegates from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Republic of Tajikistan, the Republic of Turkey and Turkmenistan participated in the meeting. The Conference was organized in collaboration with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) and the Asian Seismic Risk Reduction Center (ASRC). Also present in the meeting were representatives of the UN Agencies including UNOCHA, UNESCO, WHO, FAO, IOM and donor countries in the Islamic Republic of Iran (Australia, Japan, Thailand), as well as as regional organizations such as Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) and Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC).
The Conference was inaugurated by His Excellency Mr. Parviz Davoodi, Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. His Excellency Mr. Ali Kordan, Iranian Interior Minister, Mr. Khurshid Anwar, ECO Secretary General made their statements. The message of the ISDR's Director, Mr. Salvano Bericeno was also read out by Mr. Knut Ostby, the UN Resident Coordinator in Iran.
In his augural statement, the Vice President noted that cooperation among regional countries and international agencies was essential for containing the impact of natural disasters. He thanked the international community for its assistance to the victims of the devastating earthquake that hit Bam in 2003. He referred to the establishment of the Asian Seismic Risk Reduction (ASRC) in cooperation with UNISDR and the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction as steps taken by Iran to implement the Hyogo Framework for Action.
The Interior Minister dilated on the preparedness and prevention activities of the Government of Iran and its endeavours to implement the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA). He stressed the need for closer cooperation among members of the international and regional community to contain the impact of disasters.
The ECO Secretary General said that national disasters were a part of our life – a part which was bitter and, at times, unavoidable and inescapable. ECO was one of the more disaster-prone regions of the world. Its geography, its location and lay-out made it a mix of many an opportunity, many a challenge. He stressed the need for efficient risk management and effective practical measures. He also mentioned that disaster risk management was an important priority set high on the agenda of ECO by the 9th Summit of ECO leaders held in Baku in May 2006.
Mr. Hossein Bagheri, the Head of the Iran's Natural Disaster Management Organization, in his welcoming speech, emphasized the need to strengthen cooperation in the ECO region on disaster risk management. He suggested building a mechanism to follow up and implement the recommendations of this Conference and two of such events held earlier in Istanbul and Islamabad.
The two days conference focused on a range of relevant issues, including (i) Drought, (ii) Climate Change, flood, (iii) Seismic Risk Reduction, (iv) Disaster Risk Management (Institution, Legislation, Regulation, Tools and Technology), (v) Hospital Safe from Disaster and (vi) ECO Regional Cooperation. Country reports as well as reports by the relevant UN agencies were presented to the meeting. The Conference drew up a set of recommendations which would be submitted to the next Ministerial Meetings. The Conference appreciated the offer of the Republic of Tajikistan to hold the next Conference on the subject.