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Activity Report

Bengaluru, India (November 14-17, 2017)

The 24th Session of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF) was held from 14 to 17 November in Bengaluru, India. It was co-organized by the Department of Space (DOS), Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
APRSAF was established in 1993 to enhance space activities in the Asia-Pacific region. Attended by space agencies, governments, and international organizations such as the United Nations as well as companies, universities and research institutes, this forum is the largest space-related conference in the Asia-Pacific region. APRSAF has four Working Groups: the (1) Space Applications Working Group (SAWG), (2) Space Technology Working Group (STWG), (3) Space Environment Utilization Working Group (SEUWG), and (4) Space Education Working Group (SEWG). APRSAF participants share information about their activities and the future plans for their countries and regions in each working group. APRSAF also supports international projects designed to find solutions to common issues such as disaster management and environmental protection.
The Sentinel Asia initiative is one such activity, and involves the use of space-based information in the form of satellite images for disaster management in the Asia-Pacific region. ADRC has been tasked with the responsibility of receiving emergency observation requests from ADRC member countries and Joint Project Team (JPT) members. ADRC joined the Space Applications Working Group (SAWG) and reported on Trends in Emergency Observation Requests of Sentinel Asia.
Sentinel Asia marked its 10th anniversary in 2016 and its continued development is expected in 2017 and beyond. ADRC is planning to strengthen its network with disaster management organizations and to develop standard operating procedures for Sentinel Asia.

(2017/12/10 18:30)

IRP Engagement at the Third World Reconstruction Conference (WRC3)
Brussels, Belgium (June 6-8, 2017)

WS000002.JPGThe International Recovery Platform (IRP) had actively participated in the third edition of the World Reconstruction Conference (WRC3), 6-8 June 2017 in Brussels, Belgium. IRP extended support in organizing and documenting a number of independent sessions, including: (i) An Update from 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction; (ii) Livelihood Recovery and Social Protection; (iii) Private Sector as a Key Partner in Preparedness, Response and Recovery; (iv) Preparing and Planning for Recovery - Strengthening Institutions and Capacities; and (v) Policies and Institutional Arrangements for Recovery.

The discussions at the sessions demonstrated how the concept of "build back better", which is highlighted in Priority Four of the Sendai Framework, can be implemented in transformative manner that reduces risks and builds resilience - and mindful that the next disaster may be of different nature from the previous one. Based on a number of experiences shared at the sessions, it was explicitly shown that build back better is not only about upgrading infrastructure with disaster resilient construction technologies but also about stronger governance systems, improved basic services, diversified livelihoods for people, and better social protection mechanisms for the poor and vulnerable families. To build back better, it is critical to understand the underlying causes of failures and to take the opportunity in recovery phase to address those failures such as through risk-informed land use planning and improved build standards and enforcement. There are many factors that can contribute to a successful build back better effort by governments, including enhancing the:

WS000003.JPG• Ability to develop specific institutional, policy, and legal frameworks for recovery process
• Capacity to support recovery interventions efficiently and effectively so that these sustainable
• Ability to coordinate multiple stakeholders that support and bring financial and technical resources to implement recovery programs

It was affirmed in the plenaries and sessions that one of the contributory factors to achieve "resilient recovery" (the overarching theme of WRC3) is the degree of preparation for recovery. Put simply, "preparedness for recovery" - as promoted in countries like India, Japan, USA, and New Zealand that have developed a well-planned and a well-resourced institutional and financial system - means putting in place the following instruments prior to disaster:

• Institutions, policies, and laws on recovery
• Financial mechanisms for recovery
• Dedicated personnel and resources for recovery

WS000004.JPGAt the final day of the WRC3, this question was debated: What can we do to make recovery resilient? Obviously a generic solution is not possible because recovery is a complex and integrated process. As already known based on past experiences, various factors need to be considered to make recovery resilient such as: (i) preparedness and readiness to recover; (ii) context and capacity; (iii) systems and institutions; (iv) localization; and (v) inclusiveness or "all of us". The complexity of recovery process may call for context-specific strategies and actions for resilience. For instance the World Bank, in the context of urban resilience, suggested the following actions to make recovery resilient for cities and urban communities:

• Prepare the community, e.g. raising awareness and drills
• Build institutions, e.g. recovery agency/department
• Create a financing system, e.g. financing facility for recovery
• Invest in recovery, e.g. mitigation efforts
• Social protection, e.g. inclusion of vulnerable groups in the whole process

As way forward, the participants at the WRC3 may take the cue from message of the European Union Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis who recommended three key action points:

• Strengthen Resilience
• Understand Risk
• Work with Private Sector

(2017/06/14 14:40)

30-31 May 2017 (Ulsan, Republic of Korea) 

ADRC participated in the 12th annual meeting of the Working Group on Disaster Risk Reduction on "Future Strategic Plan of WGDRR after Sendai Framework" was organized by UNESCAP/WMO Typhoon Committee and the National Disaster Management Research Institute (NDMI) in Ulsan, Republic Korea on 30 -31 May 2017. 

The main objective of the meeting was to share the information of members' typhoon-related public education and training. Some 30 participants from member countries and relevant organizations, including ADRC reported on their recent public awareness and education activities as well as updates on WMO and NDMI's DRR information system tools.

After the meeting, Advisory Working Group meeting followed to discuss future strategy of Typhoon Committee operation on 1-2 June 2017.

(2017/06/08 17:40)

Cancun, Mexico (May 22-26, 2017)

With the overarching theme "From Commitment to Action", the International Recovery Platform/Asian Disaster Reduction Center (IRP/ADRC) had actively engaged in the fifth session of the Global Platform by: (i) putting up a booth at the Market Place, (ii) delivering a talk at the Ignite stage; and (iii) organizing a side event in line with Priority Four of the Sendai Framework. The IRP/ADRC events were aimed at advocating for:

• Closer cooperation with development partners, regional intergovernmental organizations, regional organizations, and regional platforms for disaster risk reduction by promoting effective build back better outcomes
• Wider dissemination and information sharing of knowledge and experiences on build back better in recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction

The outcomes of these events contributed to the Chair's Summary, which addressed the priority action areas that emerged from the meeting.

IRP/ADRC Booth at the Market Place
The booth featured knowledge products (e.g. guidance notes and tools) on build back better and resilient recovery. The materials were drawn from IRP members and partners. At the end of the global, the following were achieved:

WS000013.JPG•Distributed over 400 CDs containing case studies, tools, and guidance on build back better
•Handed out over 500 printed brochures on IRP and recovery (e.g. IRP and members' brochures, guidance notes, and reports)
•Showed promotional video on Build Back Better as well as related videos from members
•Displayed banners bearing key messages on IRP works on build back better

 IRP/ADRC Ignite Stage Presentation
WS000000.JPGAt the Ignite Stage, the value addition of IRP/ADRC Guidance Notes on Recovery was demonstrated by presenting the case of Japan, and why it can build back better. Based on analysis of the case studies on recovery from Japan, the following insights were drawn. Firstly, Japan demonstrates "readiness to recover". This can be observed in the number of existing pre-disaster recovery plans and pre-agreements prior to disaster such as the one prepared by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in preparation for the Nankai Trough earthquake. Secondly, Japan deliberately corrects the mistakes in policy, infrastructure, and societal systems during recovery phase. This is clearly evident when Government of Japan updates the building codes and relevant legislation following a disaster. Finally, Japan persistently promotes a "culture of resilience" by integrating readiness to recovery in people's lifestyle. This is promoted through massive information dissemination, awareness-raising, and regular drills.

IRP/ADRC Side Event
The IRP/ADRC Side Event was jointly organized with JICA. In this session, innovative programs on build back better - as presented by the speakers from JICA, India, and Guatemala - commonly highlighted "good governance of recovery process" as one of key factors for successful implementation. To achieve this, the following actions were specified.

WS000001.JPGFirst, it is important to promote local ownership of the recovery process. The findings based on JICA's comparative study of Hurricane Mitch, Indian Ocean Tsunami, and Typhoon Haiyan revealed that local ownership of recovery process is fundamental to achieving build back better. Ownership of the process promotes a more decisive and accountable decisions. It implies learning from past experiences to effectively achieve the recovery vision. It was argued that the stronger the local ownership, the lesser the role of international actors. However, it was noted that local ownership does not necessarily mean denying external support and assistance. Second, it is necessary to ensure responsibility with authority. The experiences of India pointed that responsibility with authority includes strong institutional system that effectively handles political dynamics and continuity of efforts. It includes ability to delegate roles such making use of experts, consulting with stakeholders, community engagement, timely decision-making, effective coordination, and application of lessons from previous experiences. Finally, it is useful to adopt a National Disaster Recovery Framework.  The Framework helps promote effective governance of the recovery process as this specifies the recovery protocols, roles of stakeholders, and tools to use for planning. In the case of Guatemala, the country adopted a National Disaster Recovery Framework in 2013 and was effectively put into practice during the recovery from the San Marcos Earthquake of 2014. The same municipality was impacted by earthquake in 2012. The Framework facilitated a more effective recovery for the following reasons: (i) it resulted to a more coordinated role sharing among agencies of the public sector due to prior knowledge and understanding; (ii) it allowed better distribution of resources in short-term and mid-term phases; and (iii) it reduced information gaps. With Guatemala's experience and readiness to build back better, the country was able to provide technical assistance for recovery in neighboring Ecuador following the earthquake in April 2016. 

(2017/05/31 14:40)

Mashhad, Iran (March 9-11, 2017)

Convening over 100 officials from the local governments of Mashhad and Shiraz in Iran, a representative from ADRC/IRP served as co-facilitator along with UNISDR's Global Education and Training Institute (GETI) in the Workshop on Local Implementation of the Sendai Framework, 9-11 March 2017 In Mashhad, Iran. The workshop was organized by the Mashhad Disaster Management Department to help ensure that the municipality is resilient to disasters.


Mashhad is not only the second important city of Iran (after Tehran) in terms of population, economy, and industry, but it is also the second most exposed city to disaster risks. The municipality is mainly exposed to earthquakes and floods, recognizing the need to put in place necessary measures to reduce disaster risk. The municipality is actively working on key policies and legislation to promote disaster risk reduction and management towards achieving sustainable development of the town. It promotes efforts of integrating DRR in its urban development processes, and mitigating risks in reasonable level with the view of preparing to build back better in recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction. In addition, the municipality is an active participant of the UNISDR Making Cities Resilient (MCR) campaign. This campaign supports the capacity building activities of local experts and officials with a focus on developing and implementing a City Resilience Action Plans based on the MCR Campaign 10 Essentials to make their cities resilient to disasters. ADRC/IRP representative shared global experiences and best practices along the 10 Essentials for making cities resilient.
As way forward, the municipality of Mashhad, being one of the pioneering local governments in the region to receive the workshop, committed to pursue two key activities. Firstly, a team will be created to continue to facilitate the discussions and planning so that within the next six to eight months, a complete draft of the Resilient City Action Plan will be ready for adoption and implementation. Secondly, the Mashhad Disaster Management Department will facilitate coordination to realize the plan of making Mashhad, the Center for Education and Training on urban risk reduction in Iran.

   (2017/03/17 14:40)

Mashhad, Iran (March 6-8, 2017)

In response to the invitation extended by the Mashhad Disaster Management Department, ADRC/IRP sent representative to the 8th Asian Safe Community Conference, 6-8 March 2017 in Mashhad, Iran. The representative imparted the message that "recovery is an opportunity to strengthen safe community agenda". Injuries and deaths are commonly exacerbated in times of disaster, especially if infrastructures like housing, buildings, roads, and offices are weak or vulnerable to hazards. To help build a safer community, past mistakes and failures can be corrected and mitigated during the recovery phase. Several case studies from around the globe were shared at the conference to illustrate the concept of build back better and to strengthen safer community programs. 
  WS000011.JPGSafe Community is a movement aimed at promoting safety and preventing injuries, and efforts depend largely on local engagement and regional networking, including academic centers and universities. In 1989 certification of safe communities has been started based on seven criteria developed by the Safe Community Network in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).
Based on agreed criteria, safe communities are those that have the following features: (i) an infrastructure based on partnership and collaboration, governed by a cross-sectional group that is responsible for safety promotion in their community; (ii) long-term, sustainable programs covering gender and all ages, environments, and situations; (iii) programs that target high-risk groups and environments, and programs that promote safety for vulnerable groups; (iv) programs that are based on all available evidence; (v) programs that document the frequency and causes of injuries; (vi) evaluation measures to assess the programs' processes and the effects of change; and (vii) ongoing participation in national and international Safe Communities networks. Since 1991, annual conferences on Safe Communities were organized in the regions to facilitate knowledge exchange.

   (2017/03/16 14:40)

The first meeting of APEC Emergency Preparedness Working Group, EPWG in 2017 was held on 18 and 19, February, at Nha Trang, Vietnam. The meeting was opened by the welcoming remarks by Mr. Tran Quang Hoai, Vice Director, Directorate of Water Resources, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam, and Mr. Le Tan Ban, Director General of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, DARD of Khanh Hoa Province also gave his welcoming remarks.ED of ADRC participated in the meeting as one of the co-chairs and expressed words of thanks for the warm welcome, followed by the speech by another co-chair, Dr. Le Quang Tuan, Vietnam.From Peru, host economy of the year 2016, the Honorable Mr. Alberto Manuel Lozada Frias, Head of National Institute of Civil Defense, INDIECI, gave his message through video, due to a severe flood presently affecting Peru. 
photo.JPGThis year, the host economy proposed to explore "Advanced Science and Technology to live with "New Normal" and Mr. Van Phu Chinh, Director General, Department of Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, Directorate of Water resources, MARD, Vietnam moderated the discussion for the agenda item. Dr. Le Quang Tuan gave a brief introduction on the issue and also raised the challenges to enhance resilience to face 'New normal' of coastal deltas by fostering Science Technology innovation. Many other ministries provided inputs and then other economies including Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Philippines, China and Indonesia presented their diverse experiences of using high technology for DRR, followed by the inputs from international organizations and private sector including those from Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, ADPC, Pacific Disaster Center, PDC, JICA , WFP and the Rotary Club of Hong Kong Sunrise.
EPWG then discussed its Work Plan 2017 and the Strategic Plan 2017-2020 that had been discussed intersessionally. The two plans guiding the activities of EPWG were formally endorsed.
Economies then reported the updates of recent natural disasters and major DRR policies including a report by Mexico about the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction scheduled in May in Cancun.
ADRC made the final report on the tsunami workshops organised last year, gave also updates of the Kumamoto earthquakes last year, in particular, regarding ADRC study visits to the affected area organized last December with the participation of officials from DRR ministries from its 23 member countries. ADRC also reported about the implementation of an APEC project, "Enhancing Rural Disaster Resilience through Effective Infrastructure Investment" and invited participants to discuss the concept of Build Back Better. Based on the discussion, ADRC together with Vietnam organised a kick off meeting in Kobe, Japan, 13th-14th March.
The second meeting of EPWG in 2017 will be held in Ho Chi Minh City in August.
(2017/2/18 12:30)

ADRC attended the 2nd meeting of Sentinel Asia Steering Committee held in Bangkok,Thailand,on 19th and 20th January, 2017.
  The meeting was attended by JAXA as the secretariat of Joint Project Team, Sentinel Asia, Space agencies in Asia working as Data Provider Node, DPN, Universities and research organisations as Data Analysis Node, DAN and ADRC representing DRR organisations in Asia.
  Day 1 started with the opening remarks by the two co-chairs of SC, Dr.Lar, AIT and Mr.K. Suzuki, Executive Director,NIED, followed by a briefing by JAXA on Steering Committee Mandate and status and lessons learnt from emergency observation so far. ADRC then reported advantages of earth observation satellite imagery at diverse phases of DRR and challenges of Sentinel Asia operation from the viewpoint of DRR organisations. As a start of discussion, ADRC gave some cases of emergency situations in which satellite imagery could deliver useful information facilitating DRR operation including mega disasters affecting extensive geographical coverage beyond borders or flood affecting remotely located areas difficult to access lasting weeks, volcano eruptions hindering the use of airplanes, and so on to identify the strength of satellite imagery for DRR purposes.
   Space agencies and research organisation reported about the DAN activities. The day 2 focused first on basic idea to discuss the strategic plan after the 10th anniversary, which will be discussed throughout this year towards the APRSAF scheduled in Autumn 2017.The agenda of the 10th anniversary event scheduled in March was also discussed and approved.
(2017/1/19 12:30)

Iriga City, Philippines (November 28-29, 2016)

WS000010.JPGRecognizing the risks from natural hazards (such as typhoons, floods, and landslides), governors, mayors, and their respective disaster risk reduction management (DRRM) officials of the local government units (LGUs) in the entire Bicol region gathered together in Iriga Convention Center, 28-29 November 2016, Iriga City to further explore local approaches and measures to manage and reduce risk. Bicol is the most typhoon-prone region in the Philippines prompting the LGUs to heighten their efforts in disaster risk reduction by localizing the implementation of the Sendai Framework.

The event was initiated and convened by Iriga City Mayor Madelaine Yorobe Alfelor who was inspired by the outcomes of the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) held in New Delhi, India - particularly on the crucial role of local leaders and mayors in implementing the Sendai Framework. During the event in Iriga City, Mayor Alfelor expressed two main reasons why there is a need to gather all local leaders and mayors in the region. One is to advocate for LGU readiness to face risks brought about by hazards, including typhoons, floods, volcanic eruption, and earthquake. The other is to draw commitment of the local chief executives to promote community resilience by adopting the Ten Essentials advanced by the Making Cities Resilient (MCR) campaign

About 85 mayors and over 120 officials from Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (DRRMO) of each local government participated in the workshop to learn and adopt the Ten Essentials through a two-day workshop facilitated by UNISDR-GETI and IRP. The Ten Essentials is a tool that local governments can apply to strengthen their DRRM plans. Two of the Ten Essentials (9 and 10) pertain to "build back better", and it is in this context that IRP/ADRC shared the global experiences and case studies. By learning from lessons of past experiences, local governments can identify and address their respective weaknesses in disaster risk management.

To forward the recommendations reached at the workshop, the DRRMO officials of the entire Bicol region plan to organize themselves into a platform for sharing knowledge and experiences. In their forthcoming meeting, the DRRMOs will discuss how to implement the identified priority actions they set forth at the workshop in Iriga City.

   (2016/11/30 14:40)

Makati City, Philippines (November 25, 2016)

WS000009.JPGAs follow-up activity to the Pre-Disaster Recovery Plan (PDRP) developed by the City Government of Makati in October 2013, the International Recovery Platform/Asian Disaster Reduction Center (IRP/ADRC) facilitated a Workshop on Continuity Planning for Local Governments at St. Giles Hotel, 25 November 2016, Makati City, Philippines.

Along with UNISDR-GETI, the IRP/ADRC introduced a continuity planning tool that will help: (i) ensure that local government can perform its essential functions under all conditions; (ii) reduce the loss of life and minimize property damage and loss; (iii) execute a successful order of succession with accompanying authorities in the event a disruption renders that organization's leadership unable, unavailable, or incapable of assuming and performing their authorities and responsibilities of office; (iv) reduce or mitigate disruptions to operations; and (v) ensure that there are facilities from where the city government can perform its essential functions.

About 75 personnel, representing various departments of the city government, participated in the workshop. To complement the continuity planning tool, sharing of business continuity planning (BCP) experiences from various local organizations in the Philippines were presented. The sharing included those from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Nestle Philippines, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), San Juan City Government, Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), and Business Continuity Managers Association of the Philippines (BCMAP).

After various inputs, participants identified the key priorities to be covered in the continuity plan for the Makati City Government. This includes setting up remote facility from where the city government's Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (DRRMO) can operate its essential functions in case the city will be severely impacted by disasters. The participants also gave priority in outlining a definitive procedure for executing a successful order of succession whenever the head is incapable.

To forward the recommendations reached at the workshop, the city's DRRMO officials along with the representatives of all departments of the city government will reconvene sometime in March 2017 to review its progress and to further discuss the finalization of the Makati City Continuity Plan. 

   (2016/11/30 14:40)

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