New Delhi: The Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog, Dr. Rajiv Kumar inaugurated the First India-Japan Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction here today. The two-day workshop is being jointly organised by the Ministry of Home Affairs, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Government of Japan.
Speaking on the occasion, Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog underlined the synergy between the two ancient Asian civilizations of India and Japan, both of which have frequently witnessed the fury of natural catastrophes and are investing proactively on mainstreaming risk reduction into development. He said that this workshop “marks the beginning of formal implementation of the initiatives agreed under the Memorandum of Cooperation signed between the two countries on Disaster Risk Reduction in September 2017”.
While underlining the impact of disaster on development, Dr. Rajiv Kumar stated that uncontrolled development without proper disaster risk assessment has increased the risk of losses from disasters. He added that climate change has further aggravated the disaster risk. “Therefore, disaster risk management can no longer remain isolated from the overall strategy of sustainable development”, he said.
Recalling commitments made in Sendai on Disaster Risk Reduction, in Paris on Climate Change and in New York on Sustainable Development Goals, Dr Rajiv Kumar emphasized the role of country leadership for implementing the commitments particularly in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction, as returns to investment are not easily visible. He said that “Disaster Risk Reduction should be seen not as a cost to economic growth, but rather as a valuable asset for the country”.
Dr. Rajiv Kumar talked about reducing disaster risk by strengthening resilience, through a six-pronged approach of Risk Identification, Risk Reduction, Preparedness, Financial Protection, Resilient Reconstruction and Societal Awareness. He highlighted the role of education and schooling in preparing citizens for catastrophic natural disasters. He also emphasized the role of building partnerships with stakeholders for promoting risk informed investment. In this regard, he said “reducing the risk and losses of disasters is a collective effort” and therefore, this workshop is “indeed a very defining step towards mutual sharing, learning and enhancing the capacities of our people and communities in disaster risk resilience”.
The Vice Minister for Policy Coordination in the Cabinet Office, Japan, Mr. Mamoru Maekawa, thanked the Government of India for hosting this Workshop, which is the first outcome of the Memorandum of Cooperation regarding Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). He shared the Japanese experiences of DRR policies, including legal and planning framework, and discussed how Japan is preparing against mega-scale disasters, in collaboration with government, academia, private companies and citizens. He concluded that Japan and India could collaborate for the implementation of the Sendai Framework so as to contribute to Disaster Risk Reduction globally.
Additional Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of India, Dr. P. K. Mishra talked about the unparalleled contribution of Japan to global Disaster Risk Reduction. He appreciated their consistent global leadership in this area from the early days of the International Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) to Yokohama Strategy, to Hyogo Framework to the current Sendai Framework. Dr. Mishra lauded Japan’s lead in technology and its all of society approach in DRR. Dr. Mishra stressed the need for imbibing the principles of Disaster Risk Management in all development sectors so as to prevent economic losses. He mentioned that in line with the Prime Minister’s announcement during the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in 2016, India is working towards a global coalition on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. He complimented Japan for their active cooperation on this initiative and also emphasized long standing collaboration between the two countries in DRR at various levels.
Ambassador of Japan to India, Mr. Kenji Hiramatsu, expressed his gratitude to the people of India for sending the team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to Japan, who extended their unstinting assistance in the aftermath of the Great East Japan earthquake in March 2011. He also mentioned about the various cooperative projects related to Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) which are currently ongoing between Japan and India; and emphasized the importance of people’s awareness and precautionary measures for DRR.
In his welcome address, Shri R K Jain, Member, NDMA, highlighted the expertise of Japan in the field of Disaster Risk Management, particularly in the field of earthquake risk reduction and resilience. He said that the workshop will help to learn from the experience of Japan in earthquake safety and early warning system.
Union Home Secretary Shri Rajiv Gauba, all Members of NDMA and senior officers from MHA, NDMA and NDRF were also present during the inaugural session.
Fifty delegates from Japan including experts from government, technical institutions, private sector and 70 delegates from India including experts from Central Government, State Governments, NDMA, SDMAs, IITs, NIDM, National Centre for Seismology, INCOIS, NRSC, IMD, National Geophysical Research Institute, TERI, BISAG, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, IIHS, SAARC Disaster Management Centre, NIUA, SPA, Research and Information System for Development Countries, Infrastructure Companies, Private Sector and NGOs are participating in the Workshop.
Deliberations at the workshop will take the dialogue on India-Japan Cooperation on Disaster Risk Reduction further with particular focus of earthquake safety. The workshop will identify possible areas of cooperation of India with Japan in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction.