Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the People and Government of Pakistan, I would like to extend felicitations to the United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and Government of Indonesia for organizing the seventh session of the GPDRR 2022 in Bali, Indonesia. Over a period of time, GPDRR has emerged as the leading platform for exchanging ideas and mutual learning on DRR. The seventh session of GPDRR gains further significance being the first session of GPDRR organized after the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic, and hence aptly focuses on ‘sustainable development for all in a COVID-19 transformed world’.
The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a wake-up call for all of us to realize the importance of preparedness to deal with emergency situations and has further highlighted the need of cross-border cooperation and coordination in disaster risk management.
While the world is dealing with the ongoing pandemic, the threats from the climate change are exacerbating globally. The increase in global temperature, evident from the record high temperatures in the last decade and repeated warnings in the AR6 by IPCC have further highlighted the need of incorporation of climate change adaptation in our disaster risk reduction agenda.
Developing countries like Pakistan, and least developed countries, while contributing negligible share to the global emissions, are facing brunt of the climate change impacts. Pakistan ranks among highly disaster prone countries, with a high vulnerability and risk index.
Thus, Pakistan and countries alike have bigger stake in the successful implementation of Sendai Framework by the year 2030, as agreed during the Third World Conference on DRR held in Sendai in 2015. Government of Pakistan and it’s National Disaster Management Authority, are fully committed for implementation of the framework.
Excellences, Ladies and Gentleman,
Since the devastating Kashmir Earthquake 2005, Pakistan has come a long way in enhancing the capacity of the country through well-planned measures. Pakistan established a comprehensive disaster management system in 2007 to combat threats from disasters. While the system has been established and proved its utility by effectively managing mega disasters like floods 2010, 2011 & 2012, we have actively worked on filling the gaps, identified in DRM Needs Report 2012, formulated as a result of a broad based consultation process.
Recognizing the threats posed by recurrent and intense disasters and considering the magnitude of vulnerabilities, Pakistan is implementing a comprehensive National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) 2012 - 22. Focused on a systematic and proactive DRM approach, the National Plan encompasses 10 disaster management interventions. Pakistan seeks to update and revise its Master Plan for DRM and is engaged with the Japanese Government in this regard. The updated Master Plan shall incorporate key lessons learned and would be in line with the priorities of SFDRR. To support risk reduction efforts, Pakistan has a National Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Policy, based on three pillars of risk knowledge, prevention & mitigation, and preparedness. Pakistan is committed to implement its national frameworks in line with the international frameworks and obligations.
Consequent to the earthquake of 2005 which caused colossal human and economic losses, Pakistan successfully undertook reconstruction of 11000 projects in 13 sectors, including rebuilding of four cities and extending technical and financial support for reconstruction of over 600,000 seismically safe houses which serves as one of the best practices of “Build Back Better”. For this, Pakistan was awarded Certificate of Distinction by UN Sasakawa Award in 2011 for its seismically safe rural housing reconstruction programme and ISO 9001 2008 certification for its services in rehabilitation and reconstruction of the October 2005 earthquake-hit areas.
Ladies and Gentleman,
Pakistan has been able to make significant progress in the field of disaster management since then. These include:
- National Frameworks, Policies, Plans, Guidelines and SOPs formulated over the period to enhance the disaster preparedness and resilience. All policies are gender inclusive. To cater to the special needs and requirements of vulnerable groups during disasters, a Gender & Child Cell has also been established in NDMA and same is being replicated at Provincial level.
- Completion of Macro level Multi Hazard Vulnerability Risk Assessment (MHVRA) of entire country. Now the focus is on micro level risk assessment down to the lowest administrative level.
- Capacity building trainings for over 9,000 government officials by National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM).
- Raised six Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams, which are stationed across the country. Pakistan also has an INSARAG certified USAR team which is the first team of South Asia with this certification.
- Built its logistic capacity through strategically located and well-stocked warehouses in the country, with a capacity to support up to 0.5 million (five hundred thousand) persons, in case of any emergency.
- Pakistan is cognizant to the need for integrating DRR in development, recovery and reconstruction. DRR is now part of the public sector development projects.
- In the wake of unprecedented urban flooding in Karachi mega city in 2020, a model DRR storm water drains project is being implemented aimed at revamping drainage system that shall serve as a model of urban resilience initiative.
- Pakistan has revised Building Codes and also incorporated National Fire & Life Safety Codes for resilience of its built environment.
- National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) has been established as a dedicated vehicle for investment in DRR.
- A Government of Pakistan & UN Strategic Coordination Forum for Disaster Management has been established which is co-chaired by Chairman NDMA and UN RC/HC.
Ladies and Gentleman,
- At the onset of COVID-19 Pandemic, Pakistan established an effective “whole of Government” response and coordination mechanism in the form of “National Command & Control Centre (NCOC)” to take evidence based decisions facilitated by comprehensive data and information systems. Effective strategies of trace, track and quarantine (TTQ), border control, screening, and management of incoming passengers at points of entry were implemented. A strategy of “smart lockdowns” was implemented to contain the spread of pandemic, as well as to avoid negative economic fallout. The effectiveness of Pakistan’s response is recognized, globally, as a success story in fight against COVID-19.
- In support of national efforts NDMA efficiently delivered upon its mandated role by providing logistic support in the form of immediate establishment of over 1500 rooms quarantine facilities, hospital ramp-up plan by adding 2800 beds capacity with oxygenation, construction of a 250-beds Isolation Hospital and Infectious Disease Treatment Centre (IHITC) in Islamabad in record period of 40 days, provision of critical bio-medical equipment. NDMA assisted in national mass vaccination drive through procurement of vaccines and establishment of Mass Vaccination Centres.
Government of Pakistan acknowledges the role of UN agencies, development partners and donors for their support in implementing country’s DRR agenda and responding to disasters in the country, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the end, once again, I would like to thank our hosts for providing this opportunity to share our views and look forward to a constructive discussion and positive outcome from this important Platform.
Thank you all!