S Asia needs a collaborative framework to overcome disaster & health challenges: MoS Rai

New Delhi, Dec 4 (UNI) The Minister of States for Home Affairs Nityanad Rai on Friday said that the South Asian countries need a strong collaborative framework for cooperation to overcome disaster public and health challenges.
The Minister remarks came in the backdrop of the 4th South Asian Forum of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), UNESCAP South Asia and Pacific virtually organised a special dialogue on disaster and climate resilience in South Asia on Friday.

He further said that it was the duty of all of South Asian countries in the region to not only reduce our own disaster risks but also to promote regional cooperation and mutual help.
Highlighting that the South Asian nations have been facing challenges of extreme weather events like floods, cyclone, heat waves, cold waves, landslides and drought as well as COVID-19 pandemic and its recovery, Mr Rai commented that public health issues have been posing an additional challenge to all countries of South Asia.
”For such situations, we need to have a strong collaborative framework for cooperation,” he mentioned.
He also said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’ s vision for eliminating single-use plastics; expansion of forest cover, improvement and restoration of 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030 have already started yielding positive results and India is encouraging a circular economy.
He also informed the participants that the PM Modi took the initiative for the coalition for resilient infrastructure and announced the global Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), at the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 held in New York City on 23 September 2019.
The Minister also mentioned that India is also hosting SAARC Disaster Management Centre, it works closely with Universities of SAARC and BIMSTEC member States.
”The prevailing COVID-19 situation is further increasing vulnerabilities of the region in an exponential manner. Therefore, it is the duty of all of us in the region to not only reduce our own disaster risks but also to promote regional cooperation and mutual help, before, during and after disasters, ” he added.
Reiterating India’s commitment for regional cooperation in making South Asia a resilient region and peaceful place to live, Mr Rai also congratulated National Institute for Disaster Management (NIDM) and Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific(ESCAP) regional office for holding a joint workshop on managing cascading disaster risk with SAARC and BIMSTEC in September-October 2020.
The main objectives of this high level meeting were to identify the opportunities and imperatives to overcome the challenges in implementing the systemic approach to disaster and public health risk management.

In addition, other objectives were to formulate the strategies for capitalizing on existing regional and sub-regional cooperation mechanism including the South Asian Forum on SDG to scale up multi-hazard and multi-sectoral preparedness systems for future cascading disasters.
The other panelists were Deputy Minister of Afghanistan Qasim Haidari, Bangladesh Minister Md. Enamur Rahman, Maldives Deputy Minister Ms Khadeeja Naseem, Pakistani PM’s advisor on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam Khan.


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