CLOSING WORKSHOP OF THE “STRENGTHENING LOCAL LEVEL CAPACITIES FOR DISASTER RISK REDUCTION, MANAGEMENT AND COORDINATION IN MONGOLIA” PROJECTJan 31, 2017
OPENING REMARKS BY MS. DANIELA GASPARIKOVA, UNDP DRR
AT THE CLOSING WORKSHOP OF THE “STRENGTHENING LOCAL LEVEL CAPACITIES FOR DISASTER RISK REDUCTION, MANAGEMENT AND COORDINATION IN MONGOLIA” PROJECT
31 January, 2017
UN House, Ulaanbaatar
Brigadier General Badral,
Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to welcome you to the closing workshop of the “Strengthening local-level capacities for disaster risk reduction, management and coordination in Mongolia” project, and thank you, Brigadier General Badral, for your kind remarks on our long-lasting and fruitful partnership and cooperation in the field of strengthening disaster management system in Mongolia.
UNDP works for equitable and sustainable development for the benefit of all Mongolians. With this goal, the UNDP has collaborated with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) of Mongolia since its establishment in 2004, implementing the multi-phased disaster management programme with the generous financial support of the Government of Luxembourg.
Since the first UNDP programme in 2002, we started to work together towards developing a robust disaster management framework that is in place today in Mongolia. In 2003, the Law on Disaster Protection was approved. Subsequently, we have worked together with NEMA to lay ground for its implementation at national and sub-national level, including strengthening capacities for DRM and increasing public awareness. Today we are celebrating the successful completion of the Phase IV of the UNDP Programme on DRR.
This particular phase was designed to enhance the disaster risk reduction capacities rather than response, with primary focus on aimag and soum levels and improve resilience of rural communities in Mongolia. The project has achieved commendable results, which was strongly highlighted by an independent evaluation. Jointly with NEMA, UNDP has been successful in instilling the disaster risk management (DRM) by effective bridging of government and communities and emplacing the needed capacities.
You will be hearing about the project achievements in detail this afternoon. Yet, I would like to highlight few of them. With NEMA, we jointly updated the National Disaster Protection Plan through capacity-strengthening and piloting soum-level Disaster Risk Management (DRM) planning and services. In addition, the local-level capacity strengthening, including introduction of volunteerism as a DRM modality and developing DRM learning activities, have helped build resilience of the local self-help groups, including the herders and community DRR groups. The UNDP-NEMA cooperation also demonstrated that community Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) can be mainstreamed into local development planning.
Throughout the country, local communities vulnerable to climate and disaster risks now have access to an Early Warning System with timely dissemination of warning messages on extreme weather hazards. In 2016 only, ~4,600 sets of hazard warnings reached almost a Million people throughout the country. A smart phone application developed by the project is widely used by general public to acquire skills for risk reduction and response.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The project has worked with NEMA and other government agencies to develop an effective exit strategy to ensure the lasting results of the project. I encourage NEMA and other Government agencies such as the National Agency for Meteorology and Environmental Monitoring, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports and local authorities to continue the good work that this project has supported. Of particular importance is the reformulated Law on Disaster Protection that is to be approved by Parliament soon, and will set an important foundation for the future of disaster risk reduction in Mongolia.
While this fourteen year disaster management programme between the UNDP and the Government of Mongolia is ending, our partnership will continue as we support achievement of SDGs. The UNDP is currently working with NEMA to support dzud affected herder households in overcoming harsh winter through an Early Recovery project.
The project has achieved its objectives largely thanks to joint efforts by stakeholders aligning UNDP’s comparative advantage with NEMA’s leadership, engagement and nation-wide presence. The project enjoyed strong leadership, support and commitment by NEMA and their local branches for which we are specially thankful. Lastly, we are grateful for the Government of Luxembourg for their long lasting partnership and funding support.
I would like to conclude by saying that our journey together is not over, and we will continue to work together and nurture our partnership in the future.