GENEVA, 18 October 2011
– The new Government of Myanmar intends to adopt the disaster risk reduction plan that was drawn up after Cyclone Nargis two years ago following a series of meetings with the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström.
Wahlström who heads UNISDR, the UN office responsible for disaster reduction, said today on her return from a four-day official visit to Myanmar: “It was a very useful visit and it is clear from our meetings with senior government officials that lessons have been learned from Cyclone Nargis two years ago and a considerable effort is being made to put those lessons into practice.
“We discussed how disaster risk reduction can support poverty alleviation strategies and sustainable development efforts. The country is undertaking important legislative and institutional reforms relevant to reducing disaster risk and while some capacity is available in-country it is critical that due cooperation and support be made available. It will be important to ensure close dialogue and coordination among government, UN, NGOs, the private sector and donors to ensure effective implementation of the disaster reduction plan which the government has now agreed to adopt.
“We also discussed the new disaster management law and the establishment of a national disaster loss database. UNISDR made some suggestions for more emphasis on disaster risk reduction alongside disaster preparedness and response. UNISDR is particularly pleased at the emphasis being placed on hazard risk-mapping and the work being undertaken to introduce a national building code for seismic risk.”
During her visit, Wahlström met with local leaders and people from communities which were badly affected by Cyclone Nargis. She also met with the Society of Engineers and the Myanmar Chamber of Commerce to discuss private sector involvement in disaster risk reduction.