Asia and Pacific UNISDR Informs/The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami: One Year Later

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The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami: One Year Later
This Publication has been developed by United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Asia & Pacific.

About UNISDR Regional Office for Asia & Pacific[edit | edit source]

With over 50% of the total world disasters, the Asia and Pacific Islands region represents the widest and most disaster prone continent in the world, beyond Africa, with a regular and increased frequency of typhoons, tsunamis, floods, droughts, fires and other natural hazards. Despite the wealth of expertise, knowledge and know-how in disaster risk reduction, the increasing population growth, widespread poverty, environmental degradation, rising pollution and wild human settlements keep increasing the vulnerabilities of most communities in Asia and the Pacific Islands, thereby creating a favorable terrain to allow the above natural hazards to transform invariably into devastating disasters wiping out all human lives and economic lifelines on their way, and setting back years of continued development efforts.

In December 2004, the tragic tsunami in the Indian Ocean has heightened the level of awareness of the communities in Asia and the Pacific about the importance of integrating disaster risk reduction into national development planning and reminded them of the need to work together in a coordinated manner to respond to the threat of disasters.

In that spirit, as a direct follow-up to the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (January 2005, Kobe, Japan) and at the request of the 168 UN Member States grouped together on the occasion, the UNISDR established a regional presence to cover the whole Asia and Pacific Islands region. The UNISDR regional Unit for Asia and the Pacific was set up in June 2005 in Bangkok, Thailand, hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).

The UNISDR Asia & Pacific is currently divided into two separate bodies:

(i) A regional unit, based in Bangkok, Thailand, which covers the whole Asia and Pacific Islands region. It includes a Senior Regional Coordinator and a Regional Programme Officer, as well as two local support staff

(ii) A sub-regional liaison office for Central Asia, based in Dushanbe, Tajikistan and covering Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, is coordinated by a Junior Professional Officer

Our Mandate[edit | edit source]

The core mandate of the UNISDR Asia & Pacific includes awareness-raising activities in disaster risk reduction, including the promotion of the World Disaster Reduction Campaign and the annual UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction, advocacy through policy formulation, the dissemination of guidelines to assist in the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), promote the establishment of national platforms for disaster risk reduction, enhance networking and partnership-building to contribute to an effective culture of safety and protection of all communities in the Asia and Pacific Islands region.

Three specific areas of focus have been identified to guide the work of the UNISDR Asia and the Pacific. They include:

(i) The promotion of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) throughout the whole Asia and Pacific Islands region and the forging of partnerships at the regional level to facilitate its implementation, with the effective operational support and expertise of members of the UNISDR Asian Partnership on Disaster Reduction (IAP) and other relevant players.

(ii) The follow-up and strengthening of the projects carried out under the United Nations Flash Appeal for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Early Warning System (IOTWS), including an increased cooperation and coordination with relevant technical partners and the donor community. (iii) The development of an effective information management system with comprehensive databases, the maintenance of a regional website, the production of a bi-annual publication “Disaster Reduction in Asia and the Pacific - UNISDR Informs”, the dissemination of regional highlights promoting regional partners’ initiatives and relevant events among other.

The UNISDR Asia and Pacific Islands works through a growing network of national platforms to mobilize governmental actions in disaster risk reduction as well as directly with the governments in the region, as mandated though the HFA, to assist them in identifying their priorities and in formulating their national action plan on disaster risk reduction towards its integration in national development plans. It also makes an effective use of regional partners’ networks at the national level, in particular the UN Country Team members, to facilitate the effective implementation of DRR strategies.

Introduction to the Publication[edit | edit source]

This third issue of “Disaster Reduction in Asia Pacific – UNISDR Informs” is an exceptionally thick edition as it compiles information on all relevant disaster risk reduction events and initiatives that took place in the Asia and Pacific region since the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and the 2005 World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR - January 2005, Kobe, Japan). It includes in particular a detailed “Special Report” on tsunami related activities in the region as well as basic information on the outcome of the WCDR.

The UNISDR Secretariat took the opportunity of its newly established presence in Asia and Pacific as of July 2005 within UNESCAP in Bangkok, to initiate contacts with regional and national partners and come up with the proposed overview of regional activities on disaster risk reduction as well as an initial reporting process on the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) in the region.

In view of the above, some articles had to be left out for this edition but will definitely be incorporated in future editions, which are expected to be issued on a bi-annual basis and thus report back on a six-month period only.

We take the opportunity to express appreciation to those partners who provided us with substantive contributions and photos and look forward to maintaining this fruitful cooperation with all of you to make sure that the wealth of expertise and knowledge of the Asia and Pacific region in disaster risk reduction and disaster management is well reflected at the regional and global levels as well as fully preserved and enhanced, for an increased protection and resilience of the vulnerable communities of our precious region to future disasters.

– The UNISDR Asia Pacific Team

Contents[edit | edit source]

Download the publication[edit | edit source]

You can download the complete publication, as well as the rest of the publications in the UNISDR Informs series, here.

External Links[edit | edit source]