Photo by: UNDP Lao PDR

Vientiane, 13 October 2020-  The world is observing in partnership with the Government of Lao PDR on the ASEAN Day for Disaster Management with the theme “Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk” and International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) 2020 with the theme “It’s All About Governance”.

Today the world faced with the unprecedented challenge of a climate emergency and a full-blown pandemic at the same time. COVID-19 is a very clear example of what is meant by systemic risk, and an illustration of the cascading impacts of both the disaster event and the responses adopted (UNDRR2020).  Governance to address the challenges is an essential investment to reduce risks such as  reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries.

Dual disasters result in compounded impacts and intensify human and economic losses and deepens inequality. Significant achievements have also been made at the provincial and district levels where Roadmaps for DRR based on the Sendai Framework have been established. Similar efforts have been initiated by UN agencies and UNDP including civil society organizations and other stakeholders to provide support to the government in their DRR efforts.

In a statement, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori, said:

“This requires having national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction in place by the end of the year as agreed by UN member States when they adopted the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015. We need to see strategies which address not just single hazards like floods and storms but those that respond to systemic risk generated by zoonotic diseases, climate shocks and environmental breakdown.”

A recent study by UNDP highlights ten important lessons and good practices.  One of these lessons such as being Stronger Together:  Engaging local governments and community for inclusive response is already being practiced in Lao PDR.   In order to help the country address the multiple risks face on, Disaster Risk Reduction needs to be embedded in national, provincial and district planning and implementation.  Government, Private Sector and citizens play a critical role to reduce the impacts of floods, droughts, earthquakes, pandemics, etc. 

However, important challenges remain, made more complex by climatic actions, COVID-19 pandemic, rapid urbanization and migration patterns and displacement, as well as socio-economic deprivation, gaps in infrastructure, and lack of awareness.

UNDP continues to work closely with other development partners (including the ADB and KOICA) towards the institutionalization and operationalization of the National Disaster Management Law and further strengthening of the NDMO at the national level, down to communities at the district level to better prepare and respond to disaster.

We are all responsible for disaster risk reduction, and the success of the SDGs depends on it.

To find out more about the recent study, please click here.

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Aksonethip Somvorachit, Communications Analyst at UNDP Lao PDR

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