Writer Omar H. Amach
The COVID-19 pandemic was in lots of circumstances an sudden occasion that caught the world off guard. The World Financial Discussion board’s 2020 International Dangers Report, for instance, didn’t embody pandemics in its record of the ten probably dangers.
Nevertheless, whereas the pandemic was sudden, it was not inevitable.
Various international frameworks and pointers have been developed lately to forestall and handle the prevalence of such disasters.
The important thing amongst them is the Sendai Framework for Catastrophe Threat Discount 2015-2030, which incorporates organic hazards, corresponding to pandemics, as one of many principal dangers nations ought to put together for in accordance with the Worldwide Well being Rules (2005).
This was adopted by the event of the Bangkok Ideas in 2016, which name for strengthening integration between the catastrophe administration and well being sectors, and in 2019, the publication of the World Well being Group (WHO) doc Catastrophe and Well being Emergency Threat Administration (EDRM) Framework.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the necessity to make sure that the coverage suggestions of those frameworks are adopted by nations to each successfully deal with the present disaster and reduce the likelihood and influence of a future disaster.
To facilitate this and encourage the trade of classes discovered from cross-sectoral collaborations within the context of COVID-19, the Asia-Pacific Regional Workplace of the United Nations Workplace for Catastrophe Threat Discount and the WHO Regional Workplace for Catastrophe Threat Discount ‘South East Asia organized a webinar, February 24, for well being and catastrophe threat discount focal factors within the area.
The webinar, which noticed the participation of 473 folks, is a part of a sequence of joint efforts between UNDRR and WHO because the begin of the pandemic to strengthen the hyperlinks between catastrophe threat discount and well being public.
“We should preserve this collaboration throughout COVID-19, then leverage it for the simultaneous dangers of all forms of emergencies and disasters, throughout the pandemic and past, and apply the teachings of the pandemic in our future agenda. of RRC, ”stated Dr. Qudsia Huda, Head of Catastrophe Threat Administration and Resilience at WHO Headquarters in Geneva, including:
“WHO is placing extra emphasis on threat administration and a company-wide strategy. We now have discovered from the catastrophe threat administration trade that actions to cut back dangers, exposures and vulnerabilities are important.
This name for intersectoral collaboration between well being and catastrophe threat discount companies was echoed by the UNDRR regional supervisor, Mr. Animesh Kumar:
“Pandemics are in any case a type of catastrophe. And since it is vital that nations set up protocols between companies and early warning programs to detect pure hazards, corresponding to cyclones and tsunamis, it’s equally necessary that related efforts and investments are made to cut back the danger of organic hazards and forestall outbreaks from turning into actual disasters. “
Nations have a a lot better likelihood of stopping and mitigating pandemics and different well being emergencies in the event that they take a multi-risk, multi-sector strategy in how they handle catastrophe threat.
Nevertheless, as it’s, many nations have but to take a broader view of dangers to incorporate all forms of hazards, particularly biohazards.
“Most nationwide DRR methods nonetheless don’t mirror organic hazards and well being emergencies of their planning efforts,” famous Mr. Timothy Wilcox, Program Officer on the UNDRR Regional Workplace for Asia-Pacific, quoting a latest assessment of the UNDRR who reviewed the governance of COVID-19 catastrophe threat within the area.
Mr Wilcox made suggestions on easy methods to strengthen the mixing between catastrophe threat discount and the well being sector, for instance by offering joint coaching for catastrophe and well being managers, enhancing the sharing of information throughout sectors and offering technical help for integrating well being emergencies into nationwide disasters. threat discount methods and plans.
“Presently there are totally different sectors with particular plans that must work together with one another by an built-in threat administration strategy,” stated Dr Anil Bhola, marketing consultant on the WHO Regional Workplace for Asia. South East, who supplied an outline of the EDRM Well being Framework and expressed assist for built-in planning.
Officers from India, Maldives, Thailand, Mongolia and the Affiliation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat supplied an operational perspective, which provided their classes and suggestions. on how nations may higher place themselves to cope with well being emergencies.
“There are a variety of classes we’ve discovered, which we might want to combine into our nationwide system for preparedness for pandemics and different emergencies,” stated Kamal Kishore, member of India’s Nationwide Catastrophe Administration Authority.
One precedence nations must sort out is scalability in response to large-scale and protracted disasters, Kishore stated:
“How do you improve your skills if you find yourself struck by a pandemic? It actually takes a variety of preparation.”
One of many principal points raised by quite a few officers is the significance of political assist to facilitate cross-sectoral integration. This might take the type of the adoption of latest legal guidelines that require higher integration or by govt motion by the pinnacle of state.
Within the case of Mongolia, parliament amended the “ Catastrophe Safety Regulation ” and adopted a short lived legislation particular to stopping COVID-19 and mitigating its socio-economic impacts, in response to Ms. Bazarragchaa Duudgai, Senior Specialist with Mongolia Nationwide Emergency Administration Company.
Within the Maldives, the nation was capable of mobilize its assets for an efficient response two months earlier than the primary case of group transmission because of presidential assist and the pliability of its current catastrophe and well being legal guidelines.
“Within the Maldives, components of the catastrophe administration legislation have been used along with the general public well being regulation. The Catastrophe Administration Regulation was used to strengthen nationwide capability and coordination, whereas well being rules had been used to supply essential emergency well being care, ”stated Mr. Hisan Hassan, Director Common. of the Maldives Nationwide Catastrophe Administration Authority.
Past the delegation of authority, the clarification of roles and duties was recognized as a catalyst to enhance collaboration between companies and sectors.
Within the case of Thailand, the Nationwide Division for Catastrophe Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) was not the lead company for the response to COVID-19, however it had a transparent understanding of its function. , which helped him successfully assist the bigger effort.
“The Prime Minister has very clearly divided the duties between the totally different ministries,” stated Pannapa Na Nan, Director of the Worldwide Cooperation Part at DDPM, including:
“The DDPM is a part of the Ministry of the Inside which has assumed a supporting function within the implementation of the measures which were issued by the Ministry of Public Well being on the native provincial stage and on the group stage.”
A number of additionally cited knowledge assortment and evaluation of threat info as important to tell prevention and response efforts, particularly to achieve essentially the most weak, corresponding to migrant employees and other people with disabilities.
“The Maldives rapidly developed a knowledge administration system to gather and share knowledge in actual time. The information has been utilized in coverage discussions to make choices,” Hassan stated.
One other situation that many highlighted as a precedence was the necessity for efficient threat communication, which is a element of each catastrophe threat and public well being administration.
“By combining DRR and public well being to keep away from a posh scenario, disaster communication should be carried out in a really skilled method to achieve the belief of the folks,” Ms. Na Nan famous.
On the regional stage, ASEAN has performed a number one function in shaping the Southeast Asian strategy by its multilateral coverage instruments. Talking on behalf of the ASEAN Secretariat, Dr Riyanti Djalante, Deputy Director of Catastrophe Administration and Humanitarian Help, affirmed that:
“A coherent strategy to well being and catastrophe threat administration, multi-risk concerns in catastrophe threat discount and built-in responses to the COVID-19 pandemic are key components” of how ASEAN responded to the pandemic.
Adopting a multi-risk strategy to threat discount within the 2021-2025 work program for the ASEAN Settlement on Catastrophe Administration and Emergency Response (AADMER).
This alteration is in step with the UNDRR suggestion that catastrophe threat governance fashions shift from a reactive risk-by-risk strategy to a system-wide preventive strategy, as famous by Mr. Kumar:
“That is what our final aim must be – a state of catastrophe threat governance that’s multi-hazard in scope and multi-sectoral in composition. It might probably and should start with higher integration with the well being sector, however it does not need to cease there. “