ISTANBUL, 24 May 2016: The visiting Minister for States and Frontier Regions, Lt. General (R) Abdul Quadir Baloch today addressed the High Level Leaders Roundtable convened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the theme of “Natural Disasters and climate change: Managing risks and crises differently.”
The seven Roundtables of the Summit were aimed at obtaining practical commitments from member states and other humanitarian actors in the seven specific areas identified in the Secretary General’s “Agenda for Humanity”. Pakistan was one of the lead speakers in the Roundtable which was moderated by the UN Secretary General and Co-Chaired by the President of Nauru, Deputy President of Kenya and Deputy Prime Ministers of Ethiopia and Nepal.
Delivering national statement on behalf of Pakistan, Minister Abdul Quadir Baloch underlined that given its extreme vulnerability to large-scale recurring natural disasters, the Government of Pakistan had strengthened its indigenous response mechanisms to natural disasters and was progressively moving towards a proactive approach of Disaster Risk Management, capitalizing on its own rich experiences as well as adopting best global practices. Outlining Pakistan’s commitments in the area of managing natural disasters and climate change hazards, the Minister conveyed Pakistan’s firm determination to support all global frameworks in managing risks and crises more effectively with a view to saving human lives and minimizing damages to livelihood and local economies. In this context, the Minister conveyed Pakistan’s determination to further strengthen its research and capacity building in disaster risk management, to pursue Multi-hazard vulnerability and Risk assessment up to micro level by year 2030, to implement national disaster management plan in the next ten years, to promote gender responsive strategies, to support need based participation of civil society, and to share its experiences and expertise in the regional and global levels while implementing the Disaster Management – CBM Road Map at the regional level. Other member states who took part in the debate in this Roundtable included delegations of Russia, France, Turkey, Australia, Philippines, New Zealand, Fiji, Tuvalu, Samoa, Honduras, Mexico, Mozambique and Indonesia.
Among other major activities during the Summit, the Minister chaired a side event organized by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on the theme of “Reaching People in Need: Pakistan’s Experiences.” Key speakers included Mr. Neil Buhne (Resident Coordinator Pakistan), Mr. Indrika Ratwatte (Representative UNHCR Pakistan), Dr. Farzana Bari (Head of Gender Studies Quaid-i-Azam University), Mr. Tariq Hayat (Joint Secretary, SAFRON), Mr. Ahmed Kamal (Member DRR) and Mr. Asif Yasin (Former Secretary Defense). The event was moderated by Chairman NDMA, Major General Asghar Nawaz. Presentations revolved around sharing Pakistan’s experiences in managing the two mega natural disasters of 2005 (earthquake) and 2010 (floods), hosting of millions of Afghan refugees for over three decades, and successful return and rehabilitation of Temporarily Dislocated Persons from Swat. In his concluding remarks, the Minister inter alia highlighted the resilience of the people of Pakistan in face of natural disasters and the impressive way in which various national institutions had helped effectively cope with them. He also underscored Pakistan’s commitment to cope with the negative fallout of climate change and reaffirmed commitment to humanitarian principles. At the conclusion of the event, participants asked questions from the presenters and appreciated Pakistan’s substantial contributions to the humanitarian causes while demonstrating immense courage and resilience in the face of recurring natural disasters.
UN Secretary General, Ban-Ki-moon visited NDMA’s exhibition and NADRA’s stall at Innovation Marketplace. The theme of the NDMA’s exhibition was “Resilient Pakistan” which showcased Pakistan’s experiences in disaster management at home provision of relief assistance abroad. NADRA’s stall projected Pakistan’s innovative financial compensation programme for affectees of 2010 floods.
The Minister also had interaction with other participating heads of delegations on the sidelines. Separately, the Chairman NDMA had a bilateral meeting with the head of Turkey’s disaster relief agency AFAD, Dr Fuat Oktay. Both sides reaffirmed their resolve to share each other’s experiences and further strengthen NDMA-AFAD collaboration.