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Region adopts disaster risk reduction plan

/ 12:51 AM October 12, 2015

ILOILO CITY—Recognizing the “new normal” of natural disasters, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) recently adopted a Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) framework, the first in its 26-year history.

“We now face a ‘new normal’ that is characterized by at least two phenomena: The increasing frequency, magnitude and scope of natural disasters, and the resultant disruption of the increasingly integrated and interlinked production and supply chains,” according to the framework.

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It recognizes that “addressing the impacts of disasters requires holistic, more proactive, multistakeholder, multisectoral and strategic interventions to make our economies more resilient.”

Approved at the conclusion of the two-day 9th Senior Disaster Management Officials Forum at the Iloilo Convention Center, the framework will be elevated to leaders of the 21-member economies, according to National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director Alexander Pama, co-chair of the forum.

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“Strengthening relations between Apec member economies is vital in advancing the DRR advocacies and endeavors toward achieving resiliency,” Pama said in an earlier briefing.

He said the framework would be put into detail in annexes and an action plan.

“This framework will now be a guide to the eventual coming up of different goals and objectives or different actions plans that will be done,”  Pama said.

He noted that previous Apec declarations and agreements were focused on specific DRR issues, areas or concerns.

The framework promotes the DRR pillars of prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response and rehabilitation and rehabilitation and build back better.

Key areas of collaboration will also be identified under the framework.

As part of cooperation efforts in dealing with disasters, the framework encourages voluntary joint commitments or multiparty arrangements between economies and partners toward DRR.

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The framework also recognized the “essential role”  of the private sector and the collaboration between public and the private sectors in developing disaster resiliency.

Founded in 1989, Apec is a multilateral international organization which seeks to foster free trade and economic prosperity among its member-economies in the Asia Pacific region. It includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, the United States of America and Vietnam.

Pama said there was consensus on the fundamentals of the framework and discussions were mainly on the finer points.

Undersecretary Ferdinand Cui, vice chair of the Apec Senior Officials Meeting, said the adoption of the framework was a “testament to the strength of Apec as a community.”

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