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Conference in Yerevan will Contribute to DRR Process

15.12.2015

The 3rd International Conference on “Public Awareness as a Cornerstone of Disaster Risk Reduction and Sustainable Development” launched in the repository of ancient manuscripts, research institute Matenadaran, named after M. Mashtots on December 15. This year’s conference title is “Media, Public Awareness and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction”.

The conference was organized by the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situations of Armenia and the Organization for Disaster Risk Reduction of the United Nations.

The whole process of the conference can be followed online by the following link of the official website of the MTAES: http://mtaes.am/hy/news/item/2015/12/15/15.12.2015/:

This international platform aims to publicize Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) global strategies and emphasize the role of public awareness and the media in all phases of emergency management.

The International conference will provide a key opportunity for the media, policy makers, universities and scientific institutions, international organizations and disaster risk reduction practitioners from around the world to exchange best practices and ideas, the further developments, as well as take part in the formation of the International Working Group.

This year the traditional conference was attended by representatives of the world private and public media agencies, educational, scientific and international organizations, universities, state agencies, the legislative and executive bodies.

An opening speech was made by the RA MTAES Rescue Service Deputy Director, National Program Coordinator of Sendai framework for action, r/s Lieutenant General Nikolay Grigoryan, who noted, that this year the traditional conference took place after the Sendai International Conference:
- The memory, the lesson learned and comprehensive strategy can only be dams to overcome violence, as well as kindness, compassion and willingness to lend a helping hand to the victims. Today, 27 years after the Spitak earthquake, Armenia with deep gratitude remembers the countries, organizations, individuals and peoples, who extended a helping hand, stood next to Armenia,- noted N. Grigoryan.

    

The conference participants observed a minute of silence to pay a tribute to the victims of earthquakes, terrorism and genocide.

The RA MTAES First Deputy Minister Vache Terteryan welcomed the participants of the international conference on behalf of the Ministry and Minister Armen Yeritsyan:
-I hope, that the Yerevan conference will considerably contribute to the dissemination, popularization and implementation of ideas of both Hyogo and Sendai framework for action in Armenia and worldwide, as well as the involvement of all media and DRR players. The primary task of our country, being a survivor of Spitak earthquake, and subjected to natural, technological, epidemiological, environmental and military threats and dangers, is disaster risk reduction. We feel on our skin, what huge losses we have because of intensive and extensive disasters.

In many developing countries, there still doesn’t exist effective disasters insurance system, and the so-called small, but frequently occurring disasters, its consequences have become a significant burden for both the state budget and the poor people, -mentioned V. Terteryan.

The RA MTAES First Deputy Minister stated, that Spitak earthquake became the impetus for consolidation in combating disasters, and after that structures were created and relevant policy was developed.
- Over the past few years, Armenia has recorded an unprecedented progress and achievements in the field of disaster risk reduction. After collecting the basic structure of prevention, response, monitoring, disaster risk reduction under one roof, MTAES launched the creation of National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction- ARNAP, has developed DRR national strategy, in accordance with international developments and the needs of the country and in line with the balanced development has created the Crisis Management National Center and “911”service, Garni observatory and seismic stations, landslides and seismic risk management programs, has strengthened anti-hail and Hydrometeorological Services, has established a joint humanitarian response center, a new airport, a new look to the regions and remote communities,- stressed V. Terteryan.

   

MTAES First Deputy Minister also stated, that 21 cities of the RA has already joined –“Making cities resilient, My City is Getting Ready” global campaign, and hazards, vulnerability and capacity assessment has been implemented in more than 250 communities and development of recommendations on DRR using local-level risk management methodology.

According to V. Terteryan, public awareness is the cornerstone of Disaster Risk Reduction. World Developments in this sphere, starting from responding culture with disaster risk reduction to prevention culture, emphasizes the leading role of the public awareness and its role in the process of disaster risk reduction and sustainable development process of communities and states.

Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, who first visited Armenia and specially arrived to participate in the conference, in her speech expressed confidence, that we should continue to learn more and more.
- After the earthquake in Spitak, several generations of Armenia’s population still continue to learn lessons from this disaster. Early warning, evacuation and awareness can save lives. For example, in many cases, by saying early warning, people only imagine signals sounded by technical means, but it is a complex concept. Hearing the signal, people don’t know what to do and where to go to be saved, as it was in case of Haiyan storm. So, it is necessary to educate people and raise their awareness. Disaster risk reduction also implies a diverse approach, focusing not only on the earthquake, and remember that landslides, floods, drought can also cause a serious damage. I hope this conference will help to attract more media in DRR process.

Afterwards, speeches were delivered and the conference participants were welcomed by Ambassador Piotr Switalski, Head of the EU Delegation, Tanja Radocaj, UN Resident Coordinator in Armenia and Garik Hayrapertyan, Head of UNFPA Armenia Country Office.

Officials of the competent international humanitarian organizations in their speeches stressed the importance of public awareness of disaster risk reduction, and welcomed the holding of this international conference as an effective format for the issues discussions.

During the conference a TV debate on the topic “Communicating Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR): Challenges and Solutions” was held. The discussion was attended by the representatives of local and international media agencies, journalists and DRR experts from Africa, Colombia, the Philippines, England and other countries.

The topics of the next session of the first working day of the conference were the problems and prospects of early warning.

Professor Amjad Bhatti, from Rural Development Policy Institute of Pakistan participated online and made a presentation on topic “Disaster Communication concepts and perspectives”.

The forum will continue its work on December 16.

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