A workshop held recently in Biratnagar to sensitize stakeholders in Province 1 on Disaster Risk Management resulted in productive discussions about potential mechanisms and actions to be taken at the provincial level to reduce and mitigate crises

“The strong guidelines discouraging building of settlements on river banks could be a real breaktrough to reduce disaster loss and damage… this is something the local government should think of”. “The functional approach of the current government’s demand for sufficient revisions for introducing the risk zone identification, settlement planning, including relocation of the settlement exposed to hazardous risk zone, is the priority.” These were the kind of opinions that were voiced during the provincial-level sensitization workshop on Disaster Risk Management in Province 1, Biratnagar on 31 July .

As the country has transitioned to the federal structure, disaster risk management needs to be better channelized at the province level. In this context, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA)  with support from UNDP, organized a provincial-level workshop in order to implement Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act 2074 (2017) and Proposed Institutional Arrangement and National DRR Policy and Strategic Action Plan, signalling the criticality of good disaster risk management for protection of citizens and development gains from the impact of disasters.

At the event, Chief Minister of Province 1 Biratnagar, Sher Dhan Rai urged coordination among the three tiers of governments to address disaster risk issues and creation of a conducive environment to engage all the stakeholders of society. “Due to low level of awareness of the multiple disaster risks, our development practices and behaviours have resulted in environment degradation ultimately aggravating the frequency of disaster. Hence, our first priority should be to raise the risk awareness and to practice risk informed development,” he said. He also informed that Province 1 has recently created  a ‘Chief Minister Natural Disaster Management Fund’ which could be instrumental not only for improved disaster response but also for risk mitigation together with the support of development partners.

Mayor of Biratnagar Metropolitan City, Bhim Parajuli appreciated the cluster system as an effective mechanism which was adapted in responding to the last flood in Biratnagar.  Similarly, Bal Chandra Manjhi, Chair of the Budiganga Rural Municipality, emphasized on reforming the system for an effective and reliable disaster response.

The discussions also highlighted that there are major areas where improvements are required: particularly in terms of capacity (awareness raise, skill, knowledge, tools and technology) at all three layers of the governments; coordination among the government, DPs, private sector and beneficiaries for better resource utilization and synergy; and the Disaster Information Managemtn System about multi-disaster risks and mitigation actions where more efforts are required.

A total of 118 participants were part of the workshop.

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UNDP was a key technical partner in the formulation of DRR Policy and Strategic Action Plan 2018, and continues to support critical institutional capacity building of the establishment of the newly established National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority (NDRRMA).

 

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