Delegates at the workshop (Photo: VNA)
Community-based disaster risk management was the focus of a workshop in the framework of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, which opened in the northern coastal province of Quang Ninh on September 18.

The event drew around 100 delegates from the APEC economies, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction – Regional Office for Asia and Pacific (UNISDR AP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Women, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the World Vision, the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Natural calamities have become more severe over time, directly impacting people’s lives and sustainable development and poverty reduction efforts, as well as hindering business and production activities, thus disrupting the global supply chains, said Deputy Foreign Minister Vu Hong Nam.

Therefore, enhancing the involvement of the community in natural disaster prevention is a top priority within the APEC disaster risk mitigation framework, contributing to the implementation of the Sendai action plan which was approved at a conference held Sendai city, Japan, in March 2015, he added.

The workshop aimed at suggesting more solutions and sharing experience for participants in the field, especially when APEC member economies are pushing ahead with the establishment of a self-reliant and sustainable community, he said.

Tran Quang Hoai, a member from the National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, said natural disasters and extreme climate phenomena have been rising around the world, becoming a global concern in the 21 st century.

He noted that Asia-Pacific is the most disaster prone region. Since 1970, the region has been hit by over 5,000 natural calamities, which killed more than 2 million people and affected close to 6 billion others.

Vietnam is one of the countries bearing the greatest brunt of disasters that kill and injure more than 300 people while causing economic losses of about 1.5 percent of GDP each year, Hoai said.

With the support of the international community, Vietnam has shifted from coping with natural calamities to proactively preventing and moving towards disaster risk management, he added.

Under the national strategy for natural disaster prevention, response and mitigation through 2020, Vietnam has enacted a number of preventive measures at both the central and grassroots levels, while integrating related programmes and projects into socio-economic development and climate change response plans, Hoai noted.

He reportedd that the five-year project on enhancing community-based disaster risk management have received warm response from localities across the country with a number of public awareness-raising activities held.

Jointly organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Quang Ninh provincial People’s Committee, the event will run until September 19.

The APEC workshop on community-based disaster risk management is one of the 80 initiatives proposed by Vietnam in preparation for the country’s hosting of the 25th APEC Summit and related activities in 2017.-VNA