Vientiane, 25 October 2019 – Disasters are an acute threat to development, and implementing disaster risk reduction is necessary for saving lives and avoiding economic losses. To mark this year’s ASEAN Day for Disaster Management and the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (IDDRR), the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW) of Lao PDR in partnership with UNDP with the support of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and the World Food Programme. Many Government Line Departments, NGO Representatives, staff and over 200 Students of the Faculty of Engineering, National University of Laos, gathered to discuss and showcase examples of Disaster Management and Risk reduction initiatives.
IDDRR is globally marked on 13th of October. The theme of this year’s IDDRR is ‘’Build to Last’’ which aims to reduce damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services. Noting the high costs of infrastructure damage, this is a critical goal for Laos; and the theme this year for ASEAN Day for Disaster Management is “Bridging Disaster Recovery to Resilience”.
This event in Lao PDR acknowledged the substantial progress of regional and national interventions on construction and maintenance of critical infrastructure in order to ensure that the creation of new risk is avoided, and that infrastructure continues to function during and after a disaster.
The Key note speakers at the event were H.E. Dr. Khampheng Saysompheng, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, and Ms. Ricarda Rieger, UNDP Resident Representative to the Lao PDR. The participants took part in experience sharing discussions dedicated to understanding disaster risk, strengthening disaster risk management, investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience and disaster preparedness for effective response. The participants also engaged in emergency response and rescue simulation activities, such as an emergency rice supply stacking competition and “food and cash for assets” activities.
In supporting post disaster assessments and recovery planning, we are committed to the principle of Build Back Better. This means if a damaged road is to be repaired, materials that are climate durable should be used. If hospitals or schools are to be built, they should include resilient features so that they remain standing and useable. Establishing building codes and adhering to them are important to ensure lives are saved and damage is minimized. Ms. Ricarda Rieger, UNDP Lao PDR
Lao PDR has made substantive progress in disaster prevention and response through the National Disaster Prevention and Control Committee over the last 10 years. The framework for this includes the recently approved national Disaster Management Law, recommendations from the 2018 Post Disaster Needs Assessment and the Disaster Recovery Framework, as well as other initiatives. Significant achievements have also been made at the provincial and district levels where Roadmaps for the Sendai Framework for DRR have been established.
However, important challenges to DRR in Lao PDR remain – complicated and amplified by climate change, growing urbanization, migration and displacement, as well as socio-economic issues, still evolving infrastructure and low risk awareness. It is therefore necessary to move forward towards an enhanced DRR system, further increasing coordination and synergy among diverse stakeholders.
In line with the role of the Global Cluster Lead Agency for Early Recovery, UNDP focuses on the wider humanitarian response and coordination, as well as early and resilient recovery. UNDP works together with the Government of Lao PDR, including MoLSW and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE), to facilitate cooperation opportunities to different stakeholders, build common understanding and develop collaborative plans of action, tools and monitoring opportunities for disaster resilience.
Today’s IDDRR event in Lao PDR promoted information on disaster risk management and disaster response, as well as provided the participants with an opportunity for knowledge exchange and increasing cooperation for achieving the Sendai Framework targets. IDDRR was funded with support from the Government of Luxembourg under the UNDP project “Building Capacities for Resilient Recovery - Phase 2”.
For more information please contact:
Natural Resource Management, Climate Change, DRR and UXO Unit, UNDP Lao PDR.
UNDP Lao PDR
Office: (+856 21) 267 744 | Mobile: (+856 20) 55515875
Somlith Khounpaseuth, UNRCO Communications Associate
Office: +856 (0) 21 267 751 | Mobile: +856 (0) 20 777 118 74